Debbie Caniff's Blog
Being friendly with neighbors and others in your community can often open up doors -- both literally and figuratively -- and attract resources to you that were previously unavailable or unknown. Although networking is a term often associated with professional advancement, business marketing, or salesmanship, there are countless ways it can apply to your everyday life. While some people are ambivalent about the idea of using "small talk" as a conversation starter, you'd be surprised at how beneficial it can be in cultivating neighbor relationships, melting away social barriers, and discovering solutions to problems. Here are three ways that networking can benefit you and your family:
- Finding Contractors and Service Providers: If you own a home or are considering buying one, you're probably going to eventually need a variety of essential services, ranging from electrical repairs and plumbing to pest control and house cleaning. Having a network of people you can turn to for referrals, ideas, and suggestions can make a world of difference in your ability to find the best person or company for the job or project. When you can tap into the collective experiences of people you know and trust, you're expanding your resources immensely and gaining access to a wealth of valuable information.
- Parenting Solutions: If you're a parent (or planning to become one), you'll frequently be looking for resources and ideas for keeping your children entertained, busy, healthy, and challenged. By staying in touch and connected with other parents in your neighborhood, it can be much easier to discover family-oriented activities, educational programs, pediatricians, and child care services. Whether you're looking for a responsible baby sitter or a neighborhood playgroup, developing and maintaining an active social network can make your life easier and less frustrating.
- What's going on in the neighborhood? By making it a habit to engage your neighbors in "small talk", occasionally, you can pick up a lot of tips, ideas, and updates that can save you money, keep your family safe, or even help a neighbor in need. Keeping the lines of communication open can also help thwart residential crime and maintain the overall quality of life in your area. Being connected with people on your street creates a greater sense of community, which makes your neighborhood feel friendlier, safer, and more closely knit. There are also economic benefits to knowing your neighbors, such as learning about upcoming neighborhood yard sales you could participate in. You may also hear about beneficial things like group discounts, such as roofing services, driveway sealing, lawn mowing, or house painting.