Friday, July 24, 2009

7 Deadly Sins of Networking: A Response

I just read a great blog posting at Communication World about the 7 Deadly Sins of Networking.

The sins ranged from being "all about you" to scanning the room to see if there's somewhere else you'd rather be. And while I agreed with most of them, I think I have to strike their number four -- He belongs on What Not to Wear -- and replace it with my own number four:

He only talks about work.

I think this is actually one of the biggest sins that I see people -- including some of my less socially comfortable colleagues -- committing ALL THE TIME.

First off, let me make it clear: When I want to network and make new connections, I want to connect with a person, not a title. I want to know about your kids and pets, your hobbies, your travels, that great new (or old) restaurant you just tried, or anything else interesting that will make you stand out and be memorable...

And when I get in a "social" networking situation -- a networking lunch, a happy hour or an annual dinner for a professional organization -- I don't want to only talk about what I do, what you do, or a specific work-related project. Sure, if I'm just meeting you we'll swap titles and organizations and maybe a few lines about what our jobs entail or how our work might overlap. And yes, maybe one of us will mention a project -- and maybe we'll even have a conversation about that project -- but the work talk is (a) always secondary, (b) hopefully after I've made some sort of personal connection, and (c) usually curtailed with a statement about our having a follow-up conversation at a later date. Because I want you to remember me -- not the project I happen to be working on at this moment -- and I want to remember you. And the way I think you make that happen is through the personal connections.

(Oh, and for those concerned about committing Sin #3 -- He’s talking to you, but he’s looking over your shoulder -- Jennifer Nycz-Conner from the Washington Business Journal recently wrote wrote about Mastering the Conversational Exit When Networking.)

-- Robin

1 comment:

Daria Steigman said...

Hi Robin,

Glad you liked 7 Deadly Sins. I love your addition, and your line that you want to "connect with a person, not a title." So true. If you don't have a real conversation, all you're going to remember afterwards is what they do--not who they are.