“What networking isn’t”




Daniel’s luck started when he helped a marketing executive
named Tony who was job hunting. A freelance graphic designer,
Daniel agreed to have lunch with Tony and call a friend he
knew who might have a position. Daniel kept in touch with Tony,
and even though the job didn’t pan out, Daniel made a
friend for life. Within a year, Tony was named director of
the convention center in their city and called Daniel to create
the ads to launch their new facility.
This is pretty much how
Daniel has built a profitable small business- getting
to know and help people without expecting anything in return. It always ends
up that he gets more than he ever gave in the first place.
Daniel is rare.
Most people do the opposite, suffering from the career
killer, What’s In It For Me? Syndrome. The key
symptom: You only give the time of day to people you
think have the power to help you.
As employees feel more
swamped at work and fear for their jobs, this syndrome
is more rampant than I’ve seen in 20 years. A
recent survey asking professionals to share their worst
experiences while connecting with new people shows
how prevalent this symptom is. Conducted by the Nierenberg
Group in conjunction with New York University’s
Management Institute, the survey revealed how many
people at networking events abruptly stop talking with
someone and disappear when they see there’s nothing
to gain from the other person.
This is one of the worst
things someone can do, according to the nearly 300
responses to the survey. Specifically, they said
people “moved
on quickly after realizing I was not a prospect,” “left
in the middle of the conversation to approach someone
else,” “kept scanning the room while
we were speaking” or “ignored
everything I was saying while looking around.”
For the record,
I think these so-called networking events breed this kind of behavior
where a time period is allotted to see how many business cards you
can collect. At one such event, I witnessed the facilitator announce, “It’s
time to network-you have ten minutes!” then blew a whistle.
The
other career killer is the I Need It Now! Syndrome. The key symptom:
You only seek out others when you need something fast.
Folks who
suffer from this claim they’re too busy to lunch with others
or check in with people they know or to meet new ones. Only when
they need something-like
help finding a new job-do people become important to them.
That’s
when they start scanning their address book, asking, “Who
can I talk to that can help me?”
They don’t have the
patience for-or understand the value of-seed
planting. Seed planting is seeking out and connecting with others
with no gain in mind and before you need them. This of course,
can take time but eventually some of the seeds sprout into new
business and allies that can help you down the road.
Instead,
most everyone wants instant gratification. When it comes to
finding a good job, people run to the Internet, certain
that with a stroke of a key, they’ll find their next job posted online-and
usually don’t.
When it comes to your career, patience, planting and polite behavior
are what bring strokes of career luck.

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