The Plain Truth about Networking
One of the golden rules of business has long been: “It's not what you know, but who you know.”
While this little piece of advice has significant implications for all of us, it begs the more important question: “Who don’t I know, and what and who do they know that I should know?” Of course, the logical follow-up is “Where and how do I get to know them?”
You can’t leave your home or office with the intent that you are going to run into someone and create a network opportunity. Staring at name tags is more likely to create a sore neck than it is an important business or social connection. That said, be prepared to network when an unexpected opportunity arises. Know your unique ‘elevator’ introduction cold- practice it often. Smile, live life with a curiosity to know and learn more and always be aware of what is going on around you.
“One of my most successful connections occurred under the most unusual circumstances, and it is worth sharing because we turned an innocent question into an important opportunity and eventually into a long term relationship.
Back in 1980––long before I even knew what networking was––one of my great passions in life was collecting rare old baseball cards. Back then, baseball card collecting was still an under-the-radar hobby and it was difficult to communicate with other collectors except at shows––and most of those were limited to one’s local area. For me personally, there was a great deal to learn and very few people to learn from. One of the most knowledgeable people in the world was a British collector named Sir Edward Wharton Tigar.
Well, as fate would have it, I was doing some research in the Print Room of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and looking at some rare cards. Unexpectedly, someone asked to borrow some yellow paper and my pencil. The accent was distinguished and unmistakably British. As I turned to my new colleague I stated: “You have an English accent, by chance do you know that distinguished British card collector, Sir Edward Wharton Tigar?”
To my astonishment he replied, “It is I.” And thus began a seven year friendship (until his passing). A wonderful interchange of knowledge, a few card trades, and some lovely social evenings. As it turns out, Sir Edward was a world class thinker and one of the most interesting people I ever met (certainly the most interesting I ever met by accident).
––The late Bruce Dorskind – and one of the best networkers that I ever knew. Bruce is now networking in heaven!