A Little Note: Some Good Ways and Some Not So Good Ways to Network

August 23, 2009 by
Filed under: Networking 

Networking1 300x225 A Little Note: Some Good Ways and Some Not So Good Ways to Network

If you want to net­work with oth­ers, there are at least two things needed. First and sim­plest of them is that it helps to go where there are peo­ple. Sec­ond, and prob­a­bly the most impor­tant is that it helps to be gen­uinely inter­ested in people.

Dale Carnegie, one of the most influ­en­tial peo­ple of the twen­ti­eth cen­tury when it came to win­ning friends and influ­enc­ing oth­ers, once said, “You can make more friends in two months by becom­ing really inter­ested in other peo­ple than you can in two years by try­ing to get other peo­ple inter­ested in you.

What kind of peo­ple do you want to net­work with?

Given the choice, would you rather net­work with peo­ple who care mostly about them­selves or would you pre­fer to net­work with peo­ple who have a sin­cere inter­est in you? If you’re like most peo­ple, my guess is that it would be the later.

I recently attended a net­work­ing social after work.  The event was spon­sored by a local pro­fes­sional orga­ni­za­tion and it promised to be a huge gath­er­ing of pro­fes­sion­als from the sur­round­ing area. When I got there one of the event’s orga­niz­ers came up to me and wel­comed me to the event (being wel­comed by some­one is always a great expe­ri­ence when attend­ing a social gath­er­ing, whether you know them or not). This par­tic­u­lar event was quite large indeed, with over 200 peo­ple gath­er­ing in this down­town hot spot all with the main pur­pose of meet­ing other pro­fes­sion­als and entrepreneurs.

The event was great! I met a large num­ber of peo­ple from all dif­fer­ent back­grounds. Each per­son had some­thing to offer oth­ers and it never ceases to amaze me how much I con­tinue to learn about peo­ple at events such as these.

One per­son who I will remem­ber unfor­tu­nately is a young lady who I met due to her stand­ing next to some­one I knew. The per­son I knew said hello to me. I said hi back and start­ing to ask him how he was and what he had been up to. After a brief sen­tence or two, my friend motioned over to the per­son stand­ing next to him and I pro­ceeded to intro­duce myself say­ing that it was a plea­sure to meet her. But almost imme­di­ately she appeared to not care much about know­ing who I was (not that I was sell­ing any­thing or telling her any­thing about me other than intro­duc­ing myself). She pro­ceeded to speak with my friend and not give me much thought. My friend pro­ceeded to speak with both her and me dis­cussing a cou­ple of recent events that had occurred locally. What was soon appar­ent, or so it seemed, was that this young lady did not care what I had to say with respect to what the topic of con­ver­sa­tion was. The young lady needed to leave the event a few moments later, but before she did she pro­ceeded to give my friend a warm pro­fes­sional hand­shake and a smile say­ing it was a plea­sure meet­ing him. She then turned to me, raised her hand up to the side of her face and with a slight smile waived her fin­gers slightly at me with­out say­ing a word and pro­ceeded to leave the event.

Now I don’t let these sce­nar­ios effect my enjoy­ment of an event. I make it a point to choose to enjoy my time at social gath­er­ings and help oth­ers enjoy their time if they wish to do so. At this par­tic­u­lar event, I met a lot of great peo­ple and had a great time overall.

What’s the rea­son for me shar­ing this lit­tle story? The rea­son is because, even though this young lady didn’t appear inter­ested in know­ing me, she left a not so good impres­sion. If she was at the event to meet peo­ple and net­work, she failed with me because I have lit­tle choice than to remem­ber the way she made me feel “as though I was not of any impor­tance to her in that brief con­ver­sa­tion.” How do you believe I should treat her if (and when) I run into her in the future? How would you be if you were me meet­ing her at future social or pro­fes­sional events? I’ll leave that up to you to think about how I would and should treat her.

My mes­sage here is that why burn bridges and make ene­mies with peo­ple you don’t know. Granted we can’t please all of the peo­ple all of the time, but mak­ing bad impres­sions is not always the best way to net­work with oth­ers. As I’ve men­tioned in other posts before, whether you intend to net­work with peo­ple or not, we are always networking!

Do you have any net­work­ing advice or sto­ries to share? What is your advice to peo­ple who want to net­work? There are many peo­ple (includ­ing myself) who would love to know!


 A Little Note: Some Good Ways and Some Not So Good Ways to Network


4 Intelligent Opinions, Leave Yours on A Little Note: Some Good Ways and Some Not So Good Ways to Network

  1. Johnny Rivera on Mon, 24th Aug 2009 6:40 pm
  2. Excel­lent read!

    This arti­cle presents an absolutely valu­able les­son in net­work­ing: Be inter­ested in the other per­son. When net­work­ing, it’s not about “you”, it’s about them, their inter­ests, likes and dis­likes. If the other per­son hates liver, it does you no good to give them a $50 gift cer­tifi­cate to The Liver Shack. You could very well give this “gift” sin­cerely from the heart. How­ever, they will think you are the best can­di­date for “Knuck­le­head of the Year” award — thus los­ing what could have been a most valu­able contact.

    Kudos Gil!

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  3. Willi on Fri, 28th Aug 2009 9:52 pm
  4. This is a great note. I try to take notice of every­one I meet, includ­ing the peo­ple who col­lect my garbage and paint my house. At least 3 times in my career I was in a posi­tion to inter­view some­one (or in one case, someone’s son) who had not ever both­ered to be inter­ested in me. I had to work hard to not treat them the same. It is a small world. Car­ing for oth­ers ALWAYS is rewarded, some­times it’s just eas­ier to see it.

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  5. Gil Pizano on Wed, 2nd Sep 2009 8:26 pm
  6. Thanks Johnny and Willi for your great com­ments!
    .-= Gil Pizano´s last blog ..Suc­cess is Fail­ure Turned Inside Out =-.

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  7. Jacqueline Wales on Mon, 7th Sep 2009 4:33 pm
  8. I always say what goes around comes around, and a lit­tle bit of nice­ness (socially appro­pri­ate behav­ior) goes a long way. It gives me end­less plea­sure to meet and get to know peo­ple, and in my busi­ness with The Fear­less Fac­tor I teach peo­ple how to get com­fort­able with their fears of reach­ing out to oth­ers. Fre­quently, they just don’t know what to say, so they end up say­ing noth­ing, or some­thing inap­pro­pri­ate. We’ve all been there and done that. But bot­tom line is, you want to make a good impres­sion and no mat­ter where your net­work­ing goes, you should be hav­ing a good time.

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