||A Good Network
Circle of Friends - Part 1
By Nick Corcodilos
The Basics Of Good Networking
In lots of professional circles "networking" has come to be regarded as a necessary skill that leads to new jobs and new customers. I prefer to regard it as an enjoyable social practice that enriches my life. Therein, I believe, lies the difference between bad networking and good networking.
Have you ever had an old contact call you when he's job hunting? Suddenly an otherwise casual, friendly person turns into a preoccupied motor-mouth who makes you wish you'd let voicemail take the call. That's an example of bad networking.
"Networking" is an unfortunate term because it implies connections but ignores the importance of true relationships. Networking isn't about the quantity of contacts you make; it's about the quality of relationships you enjoy.
Let's take a look at what's wrong with the conventional notions of networking practices so we can come up with a simple approach to good networking.
Don't speculate for a job.
The way lots of people "network for a job" reminds me of day-trading in the stock market. The networker has no interest in the people or companies he's "investing" in. He just wants a quick profit. He skims the surface of an industry or profession, trying to find easy contacts that might pay off quickly. This is what networking meetings (or so-called "business card exchanges") are usually all about.
When you encounter an experienced networker, you'll find that he listens carefully to the useful information you give him, but once you're done helping, he's not interested in you any more. He might drop some tidbits your way, but don't expect him to remember you next week.
Invest in relationships.
Contrast this to someone who reads about your company and calls to discuss how you applied an old technology to produce new results. He's interested in your work and stays in touch with you, perhaps sending an article about a related topic after you've talked.
This initial contact might prompt you to one day call your newfound friend for advice, or to visit his company's booth at the next
trade show and introduce yourself...
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