I don’t often blow my own trumpet (after all, who wants to read endless blogs about the amazing workshops and masterclasses I run? Better to come to one, and see for yourself.)
But at a session I ran last week for Focus (www.focus-info.org), an organisation that works with expats living in the UK, I suggested that people might feel a little more comfortable about networking if they thought about what they were doing as ‘connecting’ rather than ‘networking’. The latter can have self-seeking connotations related to working the room; the former just implies having interesting conversations with a diverse range of people.
Lynne, who came to my workshop, was so appreciative of this idea, that I’ll quote her blog at length:
“Until today, I thought of networking as a fairly unpleasant task of making awkward small talk with strangers and collecting business cards. I learned from Judith that simply changing the word ‘networking’ to ‘connecting’ reframes it into a much more appealing activity. Looking at it from the viewpoint of a connector, we can go to events, meet lots of people who have their own unique perspectives and raisons d’être, learn about what interests them and what their current challenges are. Then, when we meet another person who has a similar interest, or maybe even a solution to an issue, we can connect those people and possibly help both of them. Networking just became fun! It’s no longer about me and it’s all about getting to know other people. Along the way, if we openly share our interests with people, then someone somewhere might be introduced to us.”
It seems to me fairly self-explanatory that one of the ways to turn something unappealing into something more attractive is to change both our definition of it and, of course, what we actually do. So, to mis-quote @JohnFKennedy: Don’t ask what your network can do for you, ask what you can do for your network!
You can read Lynne’s full blog here: https://lynnehaddow.com/2018/05/22/connecting-with-people/