Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Networking - a quick oveview

If you search "networking" on this blog, you'll find a lot of information. (Search on Google and there's an avalanche) Recently, I met with a great group of college students who asked for the very beginning. We broke it down to the following:
  • Networking is about building new, or deepening existing, relationships.
  • Networking is opening the door to a longer conversation.
  • Networking is finding connections that matter to you and to whom you matter. (whether it be to take them home for dinner or share a professional coffee)
Job hunting is not networking.
Asking for donations or sponsorship is not networking.

Most importantly, networking is not about jumping into a 'transaction'.  If a stranger walked up to you and asked for $500 - even if the cause was worthy - you'd only participate in the transaction if you had an existing relationship with the asker or the cause.
We network constantly. Through networking we build our friends, our community and our professional circles.

The minute someone calls it "networking", we default to saying "hello" with our name and job title, plus asking for a favour.

Everyone agreed that if they could find a better way to kick off the conversation, then all the above made sense. They tried the 6 words exercise and, in under 10 minutes, everyone in the room had successfully opened a conversation and felt more at ease starting it.

Networking is like exercise - start simple; build in one good habit a week; try to enjoy it just a little.

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