After weeks of thinking about this, I finally came up with what I would consider my best networking tip. I’m not sure if people would understand it, though, without knowing who I am or what happened to me in 2006 (don’t worry, I’m not going to provide that background here – just read through some of my old blog posts). The thought process was provoked by Andrew over at LegalAndrew.com for his upcoming blog carnival.
Andrew’s Question: Provide your best tip to help networking newbies start the year right.
Jason’s Answer: Have a paradigm shift on what networking really is.
Its usually hard for me to come up with one tip, and I thought of things like “read a book” (I will read Some Assembly Required this month), “just do it,” “make sure you follow-up,” etc.
If you would have told that to me a year ago (one year ago, to this day, I was still employed) I would have nodded my head and said “I know.” But what I really needed to do at that time was have a paradigm shift, and learn what networking really is. Some of the things that helped me in my own paradigm shift included:
– getting laid off and having to really understand what a network was
– meeting power-connectors, seeing their power, and learning how they worked
reading devouring Never Eat Alone
– working towards becoming a power-connector
– giving what I could to others – intros to others, leads on jobs that I was interested in, etc.
– making a concerted effort to be at a networking event (or one-on-one lunch), even if I didn’t want to
– reaching out to others and inititiating and sometimes nurturing a relationship, even when uncomfortable
– of course, my entire plight with JibberJobber and the focus that I have on developing relationships and providing a useful tool to help you do the same
Any of these could have been my one tip, but really it was a no-brainer when I figured it out. You know how effective it is to tell someone to shift their paradigm 😉 But the bottom line is, 11 months later, that is the single most important tip that I can think of.
Good luck in your shift 🙂
P.S. – my paradigm is still shifting! I still work at each of those things, it isn’t necessarily easy, or more comfortable, but my life is richer because of the relationships I’ve developed this last year!