What comes to mind when you see the words “network” and “networking”? Do you imagine a room full of people frantically handing out business cards or someone who looks over your shoulder while you’re talking with them? Both of these happen and both are examples of what not to do.
I believe networking is about helping others, making connections and working collaboratively. Yes, I’m a business person and I want to successfully promote my work, but I also want to be a resource to others. I want to know what you do and what you need so that I can share that with the people I know, my “network.”
I’m often asked, “how much networking should I do?” I take this to mean, “how many receptions, mixers, luncheons, should I attend?” The answer is, “it depends.” What do you want to achieve? What are your goals? Are you new to the area or the profession? Or are you established and want to expand your sphere of influence?
This is a good transition to my next point. Be mindful of how you connect with others and how others want to connect with you. There are those individuals who see networking as a one-sided proposition. They take all the help you’re willing to give, but reciprocity is not in their vocabulary. You don’t want to be the person who automatically makes a sales pitch to everyone.
Social media makes it too easy for the one-sided networker. Don’t automatically send or accept a Friend request or invitation to connect. I prefer quality rather than quantity in my network.
Here are a few networking opportunities in the DFW area that you may want to explore.
Finally, I always end a networking conversation with “How can I help you?” and I mean it.
Michelle Crim, CFRE
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