I am always trying to explain networking to users. Tonight I am going to try to explain networking to givers.
The common misperception is that networking is a give and take. You give to others and they take. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Networking as I suggest it be practiced in The FENG is a process that should benefit YOU as much as those to whom you give networking contacts. How so? Let me explain.
If you are contacted by someone who has a background connection to you, your goal is to present them to someone you know will be delighted to hear from them. Not always easy to figure out, but if the person contacting you is somehow related to you, introducing them to someone related to you in the same way they are related to you is a sneaky way of getting YOUR name in front of someone you may have been reluctant to call.
Let’s say, for example, I am looking for a job in Advertising. You may or may not remember that I was at one time Chief Financial Officer of an Advertising Agency. Unfortunately, it is a small industry. If I have been “working the crowd,” there are only so many times in any given period of time I will be comfortable calling each of my contacts.
If another “Ad guy” (or Ad person) calls me, after we get past our “secret handshakes” and inside jokes, I am going to want to make sure they know or get introduced to all the folks I know from the advertising business. If they are members of The FENG or if I have at least seen their resumes, what is my risk? Most likely, they are upstanding citizens and my risk is as close to zero as these things get.
If I take the value added step of sending the resume of this aspiring networker to each of the folks on my contact list, I am in effect putting my name in front of my contacts again as well. If I don’t mention what I have been doing lately, they will often be curious enough to ask either me, or the person to whom I am introducing them, especially if I use an outgoing signature to make it easy for them to call me.
Putting two folks together who you think will have something in common makes you a matchmaker. It is one of those great times we all hope for where everybody wins.
Your aspiring networker makes a valued contact and you have connected in a positive way with someone you might otherwise not have called for many weeks.
You even have a good excuse to call and see if this individual you introduced made a favorable impression. What are the odds that your networking contact won’t ask how you are doing, while he/she has you on the phone? Friends, it is close to zero. They always ask.
So there you have it. Networking is not only a contact sport, but one at which you can win every single time! How many sports can say that?