Monday, December 19, 2011

Retro Post: 'Twas the Night Before Networking

Thought this one might be fun to send out again. Originally from December 24, 2010.

'Twas the night before networking
And all through the town,
The networkers were stirring
All moving around

They set out their toolkits
Preparing for lunch
When connections they'd make
Gath'ring cards by the bunch

Business cards and holder
A notebook and pen
And especially their schedule
For you never knew when

That person you met
While waiting in line
Might be that connection
To business, so fine.

They lay out their clothing
With clean shirt and shoes
They made sure nothing was missing
Lest opportunities they lose.

"Now, how do I get there?
Which turns do I make?"
Check the address once more
"How long will it take?"

"Connectors" show up
Before other folks do
They scope the location
And offer help, too.

One last thing to prepare
'Fore they call it a night
They plan out their goals
Their target in sight.

When tomorrow arrives
And they head out the door
They'll know what they're doing
And they'll know something more:

They'll spend their time wisely
And when the people they've met
Reach the numbers they wanted
And the goals that they set,

That's when they'll sit back,
Chat with old friends, and eat --
Still allowing the chance
a new contact they'll meet.

And before they walk out
From a successful event
They'll schedule more meetings,
Glad that they went.

As they walk to their car
Their joy at a peak
They'll wave and call out,
"See you for coffee, next week!"

So take a brief lesson
From this networking rhyme
And find your success
While networking next time.

Photo credit: Julia Freeman-Woolpert

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

They've Got It Backward

Doing what I do (teach people about good networking habits), I keep an eye on articles written about networking. This time of year I see a lot of articles about networking at holiday parties.

I also see a lot of grouchiness about that concept.

For some folks, they bridle at the idea of following the advice of the authors who say that the holiday party is a good place to scope for potential clients.

(It isn't)

For others, even if the author isn't suggesting a sales mentality, they don't even like the idea of a social event being a potential networking opportunity. In their opinion, bringing networking into such a party sullies the whole purpose of the gathering. "Leave networking for business gatherings and leave my holiday party alone!" they seem to be saying.

Here's the thing. I think both groups have it backward. They see networking as a business thing. That means every social event is a potential networking event. They think that networkers are people who are just looking to score a contract, a job, or a promotion.

True networkers, however, aren't looking for those things. Or rather, they know that those things are the by-products of creating a strong network. When they network, they create connections. For them, every networking event is, first and foremost, a social event.

As such, whether they are at the company holiday gala, the Chamber year-ender, or sharing egg nog with a new friend, their goal is to find out more about the other person (both personal and professional), to find ways to help, and to make others comfortable in whatever venue they find themselves.

Hmm. Sounds like someone you might want to have on the guest list at your next party.