Who is knocking down networking barriers in 2011 with me? Here is information to help us from FOOW? (Fish Out Of Water?, LLC). FOOW? is a professional development company committed to providing unique workplace and career solutions to companies and business professionals experiencing leadership, employee and career management challenges.
Networking Tips: Who Should Be In Your Network?
When I first ventured into business networking, I felt like I was trying to light a wet match in a dark cave, because the journey was filled with some frustrations. While I did meet some sincere people who genuinely supported me, I wasn’t prepared for:
- Aggressive people who push their product/services within 90 seconds of first contact. They demand your immediate trust and business card and tell you they will call you soon about their product.
- Back to me people who try too hard to be interesting without being interested in anyone else. They talk excessively about themselves without listening to anyone else. They brag about numbers—the number of events they attend, the number of things they do and the number of people they know.
- Weary networkers who are over the networking scene because they are meeting the same people most of the time. They recognize the value of networking, but have reached their peak; they can’t stop coming because they need to look interested for business purposes.
After attending several events, it started looking like the same tune with a different singer. Most events offered the same format, information and people. In spite of frustrations and the time commitment, networking is valuable and, ultimately, worth the effort to search for the right organizations and people that click with you. I encourage diversifying your network to include the following organizations:
- Organizations in your current professional/business industry
- Organizations in industries you would like to get to know better
- A group that focuses on fun around your common interests
- A community service group to give your time to others
Great networks are built on a sincere reciprocal infrastructure stemming from relationship first and business second, which cannot be created overnight. Established networks are helpful, especially when you are experiencing challenges, because they can offer support quicker than newer connections. With any worthwhile journey you will encounter frustrations along the way, but you shouldn’t give up entirely. Instead, continue to seek an organization that clicks with you.