Reminder to Self: Networking is a Must

Okay, I normally don’t network. I’d rather be at home, in my pajamas with either a good book or my laptop. And networking itself has a bad rap. But I do believe that people can bring joy to our work and help us to connect each of us to interesting, good work. Given that context, networking is a must.
As a reminder to myself as well as my colleagues out there:
– Carry business cards. Ideally on yourself at all times. Gym, shopping, work, playdates, etc. Conferences, especially.
– Remember to give them to people.
– Be the first to reach out and shake a hand and state your name. Give out your business card to people to stay in touch. If they don’t give them yours, ask for one.
– Learn about people and discover what you can do for them. Help people for no other reason than to help them.
– When someone asks you to lead something as a volunteer, remember it’s a huge compliment and then do it as well as you would a professional pursuit you WERE getting paid for.
– Ask questions / research and talk about things that matter.
– Be a good (read: reliable, trustworthy and prompt) person in followup.
– Be a person who gets things done. Create good value with people, and they’ll remember that.
– Get organized. Carry a moleskin book, a treo whatever. Keep track of commitments.
– Networking is a contact sport. You need to stay in touch with people regularly. Do it from your heart, call people, write them, drop them cards, whatever. If you’re in a business, have a newsletter that goes out once a quarter to remind people you remember them.
– Make sure you have at least 1 consistent way of staying in touch with people.
– Keep people in mind. Just this morning, I did another referral to a colleague. I could have taken the business at my company, but I thought it was better served with a colleague. I haven’t seen her in months but I keep her in mind as I do another 1,000 people regularly.
(Some sections of this were a reminder from Darcy Rezac, who just wrote Work the Pond. It was a reader’s digest kind of book, but Guy Kawasaki plugged it in his blog and I fell for it. What can I say, I’m vulnerable to Guy’s influencer role in the Valley.)

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  1. I remember how stridently I resisted your urgings to network and get to know people when I was doing my post-college job searching. Though I wasn’t fond of it at the time, I see its value now and would certainly take advantage of it in the future. Being connected has its advantages. Still, a part of me prefers to be a hub in the network, linking up others but staying in my safe little part of the net. Give me another five years, maybe that’ll change too.

  2. Joobie –
    Thanks for writing!
    You know, it’s true that we change as we grow. And usually for the better but not always. We become more whole, hopefully and more conscious.
    And networking when done as ‘networking’ is really bad. But done as ‘connecting’ and ‘relating’ is easy. It’s what we do naturally. Enthusiastically supporting people we meet, because that’s what we want the world to be like. Perhaps that’s why it’s easier today to do and do in a genuine way.

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