It is particularly true when thinking about the subject of ‘networking.’ By necessity, networking is a topic fewer people are shrinking away from now. Why? Because networking (building relationships) with larger numbers of people is increasingly important. When job markets are tight, getting hired makes the odds of winning the lottery look favorable, and people begin to reach outside their comfort zones.
Unfortunately networking is a topic all too many parents appear to have neglected teaching their children. Sometimes I speak on strategies for searching for work. Networking is among them. As I describe the stereotypical networking experience, most of the audience will bob their heads, agreeing that they don’t like doing it.
Why not? Because no one likes to keep on asking for something and being rejected.
And therein lies the problem. Networking is not about going to an event, introducing yourself to 300 people, and asking them all for something. ‘Networking’ is about building relationships. Chris Brogan’s fond of pointing out, you should do 12 things for other people before doing something for yourself. In this case, he’s talking about Twittering, blogging, and the like. And, along the way, a lot of other people remembered him and returned his generosity—in spades.
To remain successful we are all going need to become better at building relationships. It starts with turning that typical networking experience on it’s ear. If you approached networking from a perspective of what’s in it for you, try, just try, adjusting your approach to being: What can I do for you this coming year?
(photo credit: NASA Commons)