Jason Alba’s Best Networking Tip

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!

11 thoughts on “Jason Alba’s Best Networking Tip”

  1. Jason,

    This, I think, is the best tip you could provide. My objective this year is to build out the network by helping others and having this paradigm shift about networking is a great start. Then comes the work. We can’t forget the work, now, can we…!


  2. Jason,

    First of all, I enjoyed meeting with you guys in Houston last night (those of you who did not show, you really missed out on some great conversation…definately try to make the next one). I’ve been mulling over this paradigm shift thing. From reading your blog, Dan’s FRACAT blog, last nights discussions and rereading parts of Keith Ferrazzi’s “Never Eat Alone” I think I finally got a handle on this new paradigm thing. Initially I thought the shift was from getting what you want out of networking to being more “other focused” and giving what you can out of networking. That’s a great first step, but I believe it goes much deeper than that. We do need to be more concerned about long-term giving than the short term receiving of benefits, but the true paradigm shift comes when we understand that the long term giving IS the great benefit to networking! It’s when we recieve Joy from helping others in our network succeed in thier goals!

  3. Hmm …. best tip. Well, I think anyone who is out there and in the “I am soooo tired of looking” mode should go to the internet – hunt down the very short read called “Message to Garcia” and think about what it really means.

    Then get on with the task at hand.

    It is difficult to remain focused at times. When I was in search mode – and now I am always in search mode – I printed this story out and taped it to the family message board. The refigerator!

    I made a point of reading it several times a week. It helped me and may help others.

    It is the small things that keep us going.



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