I sit here shaking my head after returning from a one-to-one networking meeting; one of three in the past month where the other person talked about him or herself the entire time. I shouldn’t say the ENTIRE time. Right before it was time to leave; when I said I had to leave soon, two of the three asked about me. I felt I had to give an elevator speech; describe what I do very quickly because our time together was about up. The third person kept right on talking about herself until I excused myself and left. Don’t these people get it? They must not realize what they are doing, or they wouldn’t do it, right?
On the flip side, I met with a man who took a genuine interest in me, and as I found out later, takes a genuine interest in every person he meets. He asked me questions about me personally, my work and how he can help me, and since we met, he has sent an article of interest for me to share recognizing a member of a group to which we both belong. No wonder he is so well thought of and very good at what he does. My meeting with him stands out and I will remember him. I wish more meetings were like this one.
Networking and the importance of building and maintaining relationships are key elements I champion in my work and I have often shared Mark Lockett’s definition: “Networking is the proactive process of building genuine relationships with people you know who can connect you to people they know who can provide you with information, advice and more contacts that will help you make good career and business decisions. Remember that building relationships is not just getting what you need but creating a mutual benefit to keep the relationship alive.” Networking is a two-way street!
It’s all about relationships! Mark referenced Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People as one of the best books ever written on relationship building. I wholeheartedly agree!