Monday, my friend, Jennifer Lyon had a most excellent post on Networking. In it I commented that I suck at networking and she replied that I was good at networking. The whole exchange has been on my mind ever since. I think what's at play here is a difference in ideas of what networking is.
The Google definition for networking is "interact with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further one's career."
I'm good at interacting with people. But I don't usually do it with the furtherance of my career in mind. That's the part I'm bad at. I interact with people I like because it's fun to do so. I'm horrible at interacting with people I don't like because it's drudgery and it's fake.
And I am NOT saying that about Jenn. She's amazing and sweet and lovely. And she would never be fake. But you've seen them out there. The fake ones who pretend to like people who could help them. I don't have the energy for that crap. The best I can do is be civil to people I don't like. Or ignore them entirely so I don't say something nasty. (Mama always said 'if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.')
I think there's one thing that's paramount in the whole networking thing. Be yourself. Be friendly. Be chatty. And don't think about 'networking' while you're doing it. If you have to think of anything before you go out there in the world, think about building relationships. That's basically what I had to do when I worked in sales. Find something you have in common. Talk about that. Then when the time comes, they'll help you because they genuinely like you. And you help them because you genuinely like them.
Oh, it would be easy enough to find a best selling author and become a sycophant. "Oh, I love you, Mr. X. And all the words that droppeth from your fingers are like magical beans or wisdom." Barf.
So, yeah, I guess I am good at networking - my way. I have friends out there who've been my friends since I started blogging in 2006. I don't connect with them as often as I should, and that's on me. I have new friends I've only met in the past year or so. :waves: And if that's networking, then more power to it. Bring it on, baby.