Networking Choices: Deepen your relationships, or find new ones?
Everyone knows the importance of a network, but what if you have recently moved to a new city (or country), and you don't know a single person? Or if you are a young person just beginning a career, and your network doesn't yet exist? How can you use your network if you don't have one?
The common theme is that a network must "exist" before you can use it - and therefore without one, you are at a distinct disadvantage. This woe-is-me attitude rests upon the assumption that a network is a "thing" that you have, as opposed to a process that you engage in. The purpose of networking is to meet new people, and deepen the relationships with those that you already know. If you don't know a single person, then your networking task doesn't need to be split in two - your job is to meet new people! Networking is the journey, not the destination.
Of course, this extreme situation - not knowing a single person - is in fact rarely the case. We each know family, friends, work-mates, school-mates, and likely a few others as well. Each of these people are connections into different circles.
This week's action item: Without networking goals, our networking activities are rarely strategic. Choose how much time you spend meeting new people vs deepening the relationships with your existing contact base. Choose your activities - and then calendarize them.
Randall Craig is an expert on Career Development, Work-Life Balance, and Networking. For more information about how Randall can help you or your organization, go to www.PersonalBalanceSheet.com, or contact Randall by email through firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Copyright © 2007 Knowledge to Action Press and Randall Craig. All rights reserved.
Publication Date: December 25, 2007
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