Networking 101: The Truth about What is Really Going On
September 1, 2009
I confess....I have a real love/hate relationship with networking. Don't let your jaw hit the floor. It's true!
I love it when it works. I hate it when it doesn't. You know what I'm talking about.
I love it when I am in a group of like minded people who understand the value of connecting, discovering, and relationship building.
I hate it when I end up in a group populated with sales people selling me their wares before they know if I am a prospect OR on the other end of the phone with someone so sure we can refer business to each other if only we could just meet for coffee. If that's you...don't take offense. There is hope for you.
If you are in my camp with the same love/hate relationship. There is hope for us too. My mantra "Networking is NOT selling. It is the power of connecting for mutual benefit." keeps me sane and focused. I networked badly with others who networked badly for years before I got smart. If I can do it I am confident others can learn it too.
Once you have given me that first handshake, I have already gathered mostly everything I need to know about you. Sorry, it’s nothing personal. Well, actually it might be, and we will get to that.
I don’t generally leave the house with a “network with me” sign on my back. But I do seem to get around. I must decide quickly who to keep in touch with and who to put in the circular file. Did you know that every recruiter, entrepreneur, executive, and hiring manager EVERYWHERE does the exact same thing? Are they judgmental too? Or are they simply pragmatic?
Most people give you ten seconds to make your first impression. That’s it. No one means to be cruel. It’s just that there are so many people to meet and so little time. Everyone wants to give their full attention to those that properly align with their goals. If you fail someone in the first ten seconds, how could they possibly want to get to know you more? So here’s the punch:
The conventional wisdom out there says that the first ten seconds after you introduce yourself are the most critical. I disagree. I say you have seven seconds before and as you walk up, and then three seconds before the person has formed the impression we are targeting. Let’s take a look at each. Read more...
What are your networking pet peeves? We'd love to hear!