Networking: Is There A Time & Place?

I compare networking to going to the dentist or preparing for an interview-it’s one of those high anxiety events that I hate doing, but I know it’s necessary.  I am a self proclaimed “networking introvert,” so walking up to complete strangers and talking to them as if I’ve known them for years is really not my cup of tea. Pretentious folks love it in order to talk about themselves and to add another person to their contact list. But can you hate on them though? Afterall, these are the people who succeed mostly, especially during these trying times. They seek out the most known person in a room and go for the kill-obtain the connect. At networking events, there’s nothing terribly wrong with this, but what about general outings with friends or other social events? Sure, I want a great job or opportunity like the next person, but isn’t there a time and place for networking? If you’re at church, why are you passing out your resume? There are people who’ve confused networking with forming true relationships with people. They only become “friends” with people in order to obtain a job or to get “put on” in some way. Or only approach new relationships in a, “what can this person do for me?” sort of way. OR approach every outing as a network opportunity. I find this very troubling, especially if it’s me someone wants to gain something from in order to advance socially or in their careers. Maybe I’m a networking cynic, call me crazy, but I appreciate genuine connections with people.

What are your thoughts on networking? Is there a time and place?

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trish
    Oct 05, 2010 @ 15:57:25

    I have always been a fan of networking and surprisingly really good at it. Hmm, my secret.. making it seem as though it’s for their benefit, not my own. Works like a charm 😉 Nowadays, if I do seize the opportunity to connect with someone, its not even for my own benefit! I’m usually helping a friend. But I’m still glad to do it. I honestly don’t think there is a time or place. I’ve heard horror stories about networking gone wrong at career fairs and other events where you would expect to do well. Yet there are others who met there employers on the beach while enjoying a refreshing mojito… or maybe that was just me…oops. ANYWAY, I say do it when the moment is right and mood strikes!

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  2. SoulllGlowww
    Oct 06, 2010 @ 13:32:57

    I, too might be a “networking cynic”. I’m a naturally very shy person, and its hard for me to force myself to talk to people that I’m not genuinely interested in. The downside of that, though, is that I tend to miss out on great opportunities. I’ll agree with Trish that there may not necessarily be a specific time and place. Its all in how you do it. Believe it or not, I’ve made connections at church. But not because I was handing out my resume (thats certainly not appropriate). I just happened to have conversations with people who wanted to “know” what I was doing after college. One thing lead to another, and I ended up on a job interview. You’d be surprised where you can make connections. And you should always be open to possibly meeting someone new that can help you in just about any environment. But do I go into situations thinking ‘wow, this person will be a great friend to keep around in case I ever need a job/recommendation/free ride/etc.???’ Of course not.

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  3. Trackback: Are You Marketing Yourself the Right Way? « CoffyTalk

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