Professional Networking Part One of Quite a Few

Foundations For NetworkingLast week I presented on the foundations of professional networking to LUCRUM, my organization. I received some solid feedback about the content so I figured I’d make some of it available here over a number of posts. The presentation last week was one of three planned presentations scheduled one each for May, June, and July. This first talk laid the groundwork of what is and why do we network. The next two dive deeper into the how-to’s. The groundwork is important because without it the how-to’s could become simple techniques, or even worse, manipulative behavior.

In my last post I referenced a YouTube video that described the world’s pace of change. Progress happens so quickly. We can either stick our heads in the sand and ignore it, or we can find ways to take advantage of the change. Since so much new information surfaces, it only makes sense to leverage networks of personal relationships to understand this new information right on time. That’s where the value of a personal and professional network lies – in exchanging value when needed.

So many misconceptions exist about networking, its purpose, and how-to. Poor networking practitioners leave a bad after taste. You’ve been there. In the technology space it’s usually the newly unemployed software developer of average skills at best (that also possesses generally questionable social skills) who shows up to a user group, dominating conversation, trying to impress the regulars in hopes of landing a new job. I suppose I can’t blame them. I suppose it also highlights the reason you need a solid network BEFORE you need a solid network. This example also shows that you really need to give before you should ever expect to get.

If you’re anything like me, striking up new conversations out of the blue with perfect strangers is a bit awkward. So we’re going to lay some networking groundwork and hopefully start to create in image of how positive networking can be. In this series of posts over the next two months, we’ll dive into fundamentals that will allow you to approach these awkward situations with something to actually talk about that other people actually want to hear. More importantly, you’ll see how important good listening skills are.

If you’ve encountered any terrifying networking situations please do share them and help us all learn.

Andy

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~ by Andy on May 13, 2008.

2 Responses to “Professional Networking Part One of Quite a Few”

  1. Looking forward to the coming posts Andy.

  2. I completely agree with this statement of yours –
    “I suppose it also highlights the reason you need a solid network BEFORE you need a solid network. This example also shows that you really need to give before you should ever expect to get.”
    People don’t realize it till it’s too late. Also, if someone gets into networking with the sole intention of using it some day then I think they won’t be successful because it will become very apparent.

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