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Posts Tagged ‘networking’

In this article I am going to write about facebook and it’s use for business and networking, and at times I will be brutally straight as I want to be authentic. In the long run people appreciate authenticity than standardized feel-good things which lack depth, realism or truth.

Facebook was originally designed for university students to keep in touch with each other and has now even become immortalized in the form of a film, namely “the social network”. Facebook also clearly state when you use their service that you should only add people that you know and they are very responsive to complaints of spam, abuse or unwanted friend requests. I think they have been very successful in that. By and large I find facebook a very friendly place, and this is when you bear in mind that the internet has all sorts of websites, hate sites, bitter arguments in forums, harassment and even emails with death threats.

However adding people that you have not met personally but whom both of you as consenting adults wish to communicate with and share ideas and other things would generally be regarded as fine. In “antiquity”, in the days before the internet (yes some of you may remember those long gone days) people would have “penpals”, people whom they would write letters to in foreign countries and become friends, sometimes even going and staying in each other’s houses. If you do not wish to remain in contact with someone whom you added for networking purposes, you can simply ignore them, remove them or even block them. Ultimately you could issue a complaint about them, not that it would ever become that serious with people seeking to network online for business purposes.

Penpals, more common in "antiquity" (pre-internet age).

 Image source.

I, as of today have 4,749 facebook friends (i.e. contacts) and you can check this if you go on facebook and type my name “Jahan Choudhry” as my entire facebook is open to the public.

Wow…amazing Jahan!…No not really

What an amazing “achievement” you may think. No far from it. Anyone and I literally anyone can do it. There are a number of ways. One is to join user groups where people seek to network and add people after a private message introducing yourself and requesting you to be able to add them.

My message was this: “Hello {name}, I am networking with new people online and would like to connect. Nice to meet you. Thanks”

That was it. Most of the time people on facebook are friendly, especially those who are deliberately seeking to network for business purposes such as those in things such as network marketing and respond positively. If they chose not to accept, that was completely fine and their personal choice. Don’t harass people or spam! I knew someone who was 20 and did not have a job and accumulated the maximum number of 5,000 “friends” far quicker than I did. He had no business, no money, no university degree, so this is something anyone can do, providing you do it consistently. Anyone can do it. I met someone else who is a visiting university lecturer and was a senior City of London executive who has far less than the first person, but who has achieved far more in real life and who has achieved far more than me as well.

Facebook allows you to add a maximum of 5,000 people, Myspace allows you tens of thousands!

How useful have I found it?

Out of the nearly 5,000 people who have added me (yes most of them actually added me as they saw I had lots of mutual friends of theirs, but the first 1,000 were mainly people I added. After that it took off by itself with users adding me, which is far better and avoids any warnings from facebook about unwanted friend requests), I have only interacted (not met) with two people whom I found quite helpful. The fact is unless you can help someone in some way, or give them something even if it is something interesting to read, you won’t be able to do much.

The benefits however are:

– You can “interact” with more people in a shorter time, than physical networking and going to events.

– If people like something you do or did, they can share it with others at the press of a button unlike meeting in a real event.

– It is free unlike a lot of physical networking where you do have to pay.

– Once you meet one good person they can refer you to others.

– You can learn lots of interesting things from links shared by others.

– If you comment a lot people will start to notice you more.

Disadvantages:

– There is often more of a real connection with in person networking. This is only normal and I believe is right. Anyone can be “anything” online. So the trust factor is an issue.

– With in person networking people are more likely to give their time or help with someone whom they can see than some anonymous person typing behind a computer.

– People will only readily gravitate towards you or help you, if you can help them, or if you are established. Success attracts people.

You can also create facebook pages for your company and business. Facebook is just one social media out of many that can be utilized. I myself, personally have not taken it that seriously after I reached my target of 1,000 contacts whereupon people then started adding me themselves. However I could have done more, if I established meaningful connections with people. Establishing a meaningful connection with people is more important. It is better to have 300 business contacts whom you can mutually help and have a sort of “friendship” with than 5,000 people who are just pictures and a name.

So why did I even go on facebook in the first place?

The answer is so that I could share my blogs with people. How useful has that been? Well in my best day I got 19 visitors to my blog from facebook, that is from around 4,700 facebook contacts. It may not seem like a huge sum, but as they say pennies make pounds and pounds make millions.  In the future I will share more information on how to utilize facebook for those wishing to use it for networking. I spend the majority of my time online, on my blog or other things and not facebook which is a very much side-thing.

Facebook to blog conversion.

As I said in the beginning of my blog I am here to provide authenticity and not false glamourous stories of glitzy success, however facebook can definitely be utilized more effectively than I have chosen to do it.

– Jahan Choudhry

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Business Start up exhibition, final blog

To conclude my series of blogs on the Business Start up exhibition in London.  It was definitely worth visiting and going to. 

Speed networking.

There was a speed networking event sponsored by T-mobile which I would recommend people to go to.

Posting business cards.

Also there was a wall at the back of the exhibition where visitors could put up their cards or details and explained what they were about, and those who were interested could contact them and therefore network and develop business relationships with them.

The area reserved for posting your business cards on the wall, so people could look at them and contact you.

 

A photo from the exhibition.

There were as I mentioned before lots of stalls, talks, seminars and so on from companies and speakers from a huge variety of backgrounds, so it represents a fantastic opportunity to network and interact with successful business people or people wishing to start one up. It was definitely the place to be that week for those involved in business.

The final talk that my friends and I went to in the exhibition was one by James Caan. For those from other countries outside of the UK not familiar with James Caan, he is a British business man who gained national fame and prominence from appearing in the BBC TV series “Dragons’ Den”.  This was after he had started off from humble beginnings and made himself a millionaire through starting up his own recruitment firms, first of all Alexander Mann and then Humana International. He is also actively involved in a number of different charitable projects. The following youtube video will give some idea who he is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfyxQ5uiP18

James Caan

There was a very long queue of people lining up to see James, the biggest I saw during the whole of the exhibition. This is only natural since unlike some of the other speakers he is a well-known TV personality now known to millions in the UK. Because of such a big number of people we found it hard to find seats but managed to find space in the back, from where some of my photographs were taken including the one below.

James Caan speaking by telecast to a packed audience at the Business Start up exhibition.

The seminar did not involve James being there in person but was broadcast live through a camera. Caan was witty, with a sharp sense of humour and it was quite evident that he was a very shrewd and sharp man, but not too serious and stuffy. The audience laughed to his jokes. A variety of different people in the audience asked him questions including one young lady wishing to start up a recruitment firm, and a young man seeking to start up an organization to help young people in less developed areas of London. Caan gave good answers and in a diplomatic and jovial way addressed some questioners who wondered if he would invest in them, or even mentor them.

Above all what a seminar like this demonstrates, is something quite obvious to most, but the power of the media, the power of fame and celebrity. We could say many people are superficial that they will give indiscriminate preference to someone merely because of his or her media profile, over someone who may have something just as good to offer but less well-known. That however is not James Caan’s fault but the way many ordinary people often work. This is only natural and normal.

Overall the exhibition was a great event in that not only was it a place where you could meet many new people, share ideas, exchange contact details, even pick up some books for free, but the general positive vibe of the whole place. There were people of all backgrounds, genders, social status, ethnicity and so on. However one pervasive feeling which I got is that people at the event were markedly different from others outside on the streets, in that they were more positive, open minded and keen to be more successful in comparison to many other people that you might meet elsewhere who are more negative, jealous and narrow minded. I would encourage anyone who is in London to attend this event, and the very least you may get apart from valuable knowledge, experience  from successful people, useful contacts is motivation, since the people at the event were very much active people, “doers”, and their enthusiasm and vibrancy was something I found infectious.

The next Business Start up event in London will be on 17th-18th of May and will again be free.

Business start up exhibition, Source: Lth-hotels.com

The website is www.bstartup.com

If anybody wishes to contact me with any further questions please feel free to and my email is:

Jahan_choudhry@hotmail.co.uk

–          Jahan Choudhry

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