Twenty- five years ago the word network applied to CBS, NBC and ABC. My, how the world has changed! In 1993, The Secrets of Savvy Networking
was published by Warner Books and much of what is written still applies to our success about a process that is critical to our business and personal success. But it is not working a room. Most of the articles I read use the term networking but they are talking about how one mingles at events. Its time to give each skill its just due.
It's important to know the difference between working a room and networking. They are different activities and draw on different strengths. Unfortunately, too many people lump them together and confuse one for the other. Working a room is the mingling required at any event where we meet, converse and connect with others. An exchange of business cards FOLLOWS a conversation does not precede nor supplant it. Networking is a mutually - beneficial process that occurs overtime, whereby we exchange leads, ideas, information or support and is based on reciprocity. Some great networkers are lousy at mingling and vice a versa.
In order to be more comfortable and effective, we need to prepare before we attend any business or social event where mingling is on the menu. Having an idea of who will be there by name, position, profession, interest or expertise, is helpful. In order to feel more comfortable and prepared, spend time to assess what we have in common with the other attendees. That will help us figure out topics of conversation that are of mutual interest rather than focusing on those that only further our goals.
Knowing our purpose is important, but we need to be guided, not blinded, by it. Lets not act as if our agenda is etched in our foreheads. Meeting, greeting and making small talk is the task at hand. You may think that small talk is not important or its beneath you but its what leads to big talk and is the way we establish common ground and interests while connecting us with other attendees, potential clients and business matchmakers.
You can find out more about Susan RoAne at www.susanroane.com
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.