Hi! This is Al Martella – thank you to Andrea for allowing me to share some thoughts about networking this week.
A recent article about networking in the Wall Street Journal spoke of perceptions that people have about networking. The article’s author, David Burkus, quotes a 2014 study published in Administrative Science Quarterly that found that just thinking about job-related networking made most people “feel dirty.” He also states that “most of us hate doing it.” I don’t disagree that some people feel that way.
In my coaching activities, I have heard numerous people opine that “networking is schmoozing.” You know what – if you see it that way, conversations will be unnatural and sound like schmoozing.
If you feel that way, I would ask you to consider a new “state of mind” about networking. Here is my suggestion – consider adopting this philosophy from Andrea:
“”Everyone has a story to tell. Bring new people into your life. Everyone you meet is an opportunity to learn from, give to, and be a resource.”
Adopt this mantra – “People WANT to hear from me and I want to hear from them. Networking can result in a meaningful conversation for both me and the other person. Even if it doesn’t lead to a business connection, I’ll spend a few minutes making a new acquaintance and we don’t know where that might lead.”
I mentioned in my last nugget that I believe that most people are willing to network with individuals that can demonstrate that they are:
- willing to actively listen to them.
- sincere and truly interested in what is being said.
- dedicated to making their life and work easier and more productive.
None of this can be true unless you believe that networking can be a positive experience. Will everyone want to speak with you? (Probably not.) But with every person not willing to speak with you, you are one step closer to a person that is looking forward to speaking with you.
What do you think? Andrea and I would love to hear from you and your thoughts and suggestions.