I’ve been working on a lengthy article about networking for quite some time. I finally got around to finishing it up and published it to LinkedIn here.
Here’s the gist: networking shouldn’t be a thing. The best networking isn’t networking at all. It’s all net and no work.
Whether you are an introvert, extrovert or ambivert, networking can often seem like more work than it’s worth. It feels forced. It feels unnatural. The reality is, networking is not natural for most people because they view networking as a “thing.” Those who are truly great at networking have a secret: they aren’t networking.
In order to figure out how to net without work, you’ve got to stop believing that it’s something that it’s not. Stop fantasizing that you need to be an extrovert to be a natural networker. Stop thinking you need to read a book or learn a special skill to be good at networking. That just creates more pressure, which in turn, makes it even more work. In the end, this approach makes networking daunting, and will prevent you from ever actually doing the real thing.
What’s the real thing? Start with this question: what do you really want to do with your time and relationships? You probably want to create true, organic relationships with people. That’s what I want. And, when it comes to networking, you’ll fare better if you stick with what you really want! The real deal is human connection. If you want to be good at “networking” all you really need is empathy. Everything else grows from that.
I developed a matrix to explain the difference between good networking (or genuine networking), and bad networking. There are two axes:
Y: Who is networking about, you or the other person?
X: Is the means of connection direct or indirect?
The “Less Work – More Net” Matrix
Check out the article on LinkedIn and let me know what you think!