Professional Networking – What Is Your Starting Point?

The Consumate NetworkerMaybe you approach networking as the consummate networker. You’re confidant in your ability, you have everything together, and you feel great about the direction you’re heading in your networking activities. That’s great! I hope to augment your understanding and perhaps provide a new idea or two for you.

If you’re new to networking I hope to accomplish a few things for you. I would like to help dispel any fears you might have and provide a nearly step-by-step guide to getting started.

You know, perhaps you’ve been around the blocks a few times and you can’t Do I Gotta Pay Attention?
understand why networking just doesn’t seem to work for you. I hope to help you understand why 85% of people that attend networking events feel the same way. And hopefully you’ll pick up some pointers that make it worth your while to get out there again.

And maybe you’ve dabbled in networking from time to time. You don’t have any real issues striking up conversations. You just don’t quite know why you’re doing it. Hopefully you’ll find some things here to help you, too.

What we’ll talk about here is a structure or a framework Framework
that will help you focus and direct your networking activity. Feel free to use as much or as little of it as you’d like to help you accomplish your goals.

In the end you will have the tools that will help you understand why you participate in the activities you do, how to determine if they truly benefit you personally and professionally, and how to focus in order to give and gain the most from your network.

We’re going to take this in small digestible chunks for two reasons. First of all, it will keep the posts short and give you a focused concept to think about between posts. And secondly, It will help me get new material up regularly between posts about the IT community. If you’re really interested in the subject, grab a copy of Make Your Contacts Count and follow along. It’s the book I’ve used to help me focus my activity. And although some of it sounds really sales-y, the vast majority of the content is really great stuff, especially if you tailor it to your specific situation.

So today, what do you hate about networking. Let me prime your thoughts.

  1. Schmoozing.
  2. You gotta sell yourself – which sounds more like a hard sell.
  3. Can I pick your brain. Hmmm…how about, “I’d like to get your thoughts about an idea,” instead.
  4. Work the room. That description is so depersonalizing.
  5. It’s an information interview. How about we care outside of the interview.
  6. Tricks of the trade. Doesn’t that reek of manipulation.
  7. A favor bank. This isn’t an account. Either you want to help or you don’t.
  8. Power lunch – Please, value the person, not the person’s position.
  9. Business card exchange. Without trust, the business cards will end up in the trash
  10. Important people. Oh, I hate this one the most. This is when I’m trying to talk with someone and they’re looking past me at the important person they *really* want to get attention from.

Again, what do you hate about networking. Please feel free to share your thoughts. Next time we’ll cover a couple of networking definitions.

Andy

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~ by Andy on May 14, 2008.

3 Responses to “Professional Networking – What Is Your Starting Point?”

  1. I hate feeling like I’m in a time crunch, and need to meet everyone at an event.

    Sometimes in the past, I was the one who was looking past the person I was speaking with… not necessarily because I was looking for someone more important, but because I wanted to try and meet everyone.

    I put this pressure on myself.

    My new attitude is that quality is more important than quantity. I’d rather build up a quality rapport with one to two people, than have meaningless 5 minute chats with 15 people.

  2. Nick, thanks for a great comment! I love your new attitude. Keep up the good work!

  3. […] getting back to some posts on the topic of Professional Networking.  We left off with some of the aspects of networking that people loathe.  Next let’s talk about what networking is.  In Make Your Contacts Count, Anne Baber and […]

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