What Networking Is: Making a genuine connection; meeting someone new and thinking whom you could introduce them to, or how you can help them...and doing so; listening; having an interesting dialogue, even if it's just about a sports team or why Jessica Simpson thought that 'Maxwell' is an appropriate name for a little girl. Because networking is just interacting with your fellow humans, and it works best when you actually like the person...whoo, crazy! Who are you going to hire? Someone you had an interesting talk with, and whom you like and think is smart...? Or the guy who shoved his business card at you, and tried to look down your shirt. (You think I'm making that sh*t up? Please.)
What Networking Is Not: Thrusting your (pink, paisley, glitter-encrusted) business card blindly upon any and all people you meet at a "networking event," without bothering to think about who they are and what it is they do; waiting to talk instead of listening; interrupting other people; looking actively bored, and then, the next day, sending out mass emails reminding people why they
True story: I was at an alumni networking event last year, and this girl, upon hearing that I had given a series of workshops at the New York Public Library (I know, sexy, right?), gave me The Look, and said, "Well, how were you able to do that? I've been trying to get in touch with them for months...what makes you so special?"
Super charming, right? Just made me want to give her all of my contacts and contacts and help her! She then must have realized how um gracious she sounded, since she tried to back-pedal, saying, "I mean...maybe we could have coffee some time...?" Yes. Sure. Coffee sounds good. Pencil me in for the 4th of Never. Oh wait, is that a Tuesday? I can sense I'm going to be very, very busy.
Want more networking hints? Email me @firstname.lastname@example.org!