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Fun Networking

June 26th, 2009

As a followup to my post Uncomfortable Networking (which got tweeted and shared a lot more than I would have guessed), let me throw out another job search networking post.

In my job search, after I read Never Eat Alone and had some personal paradigm shifts, I grew to LOVE networking.  Networking was FUN!

I wasn’t focused on landing my next job, which is stressful if that’s what you have in mind with each conversation.

I wasn’t focused on “what can this person give to me,” which is the wrong reason to talk to someone.

I wasn’t focused on wondering if I was best optimizing my time every second of the conversation, as relationships take a while to mature.

I was focused on learning about people (individuals):

  • Who they were
  • HOW I COULD HELP THEM
  • and possibly, how they might be able to help me in return

Once I got over all of my initial assumptions about what networking was and should be I started to have FUN!

Yippee, whoohoo FUN!

I thought it was just me, for a while, because a lot of people I networked with were stressed, but my stress somehow subsided.  I thought it was because I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, as I started to formulate my own income security with my multiple streams of income.

However, one day I was talking to someone and he said “Man, this networking stuff is really fun!

He had gotten the bug, too.

He had started to concentrate on the other person, not on himself.

I heard this from a few others, and I realized that networking could be, should be, fun.

If you are not having fun, perhaps you aren’t doing it right.

Yes, I know the job search is beyond stressful… but I wonder if there are some things you can do differently to have fun in this period of your life.

Whaddaya think?

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7 Responses to “Fun Networking”

  1. Tim says:

    This is a great post. There are a lot of people out there that believe that networking is phony. But, I would disagree. You’re post is great because it makes me realize that networking doesn’t have to be about “me.” When you listen to others and approach networking with an attitude about generosity, it can be a rewarding experience. I am enjoying networking a lot more because it offers me the opportunity to connect with others as opposed to filling out the one millionth application online. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. I think the key is finding the right networking venues. There are some events in my area that I’d go to even if I didn’t “have” to…they’re almost like big parties!

  3. In fact, let me add, good networking (which is fun) is even pleasantly addicting.

    Real, good, solid, networking is about people, knowing people, relating to people – connecting to people. Once you get into it, REALLY get into it, it’s a permanent part of your life. It makes life a lot more enjoyable.

    I have personal business cards and cards for my blog to give out. I email people back. I connect with them on LinkedIn. I enjoy it.

  4. Jason, this post is especially important for introverts and for those who are reeling from job loss. It takes away the “begging” factor and replaces it with an empowering “giving” factor. Think how much fun we have when we give a gift we know someone really wants. It feels far better than feeling like we are begging for a favor or intruding upon someone’s space.

    When I teach my clients about networking I always have them reframe it to become “niceworking” — that takes away the pressure and begins them thinking about how to help others. It also sets expectations that networking will not find them a job right now — but “niceworking” will create a bank account of career karma that will help them career-long.

    Bottom-line is connecting — connecting people, ideas, needs, resources etc etc. — and the rest will come. Even the shyest or most nervous person can do something nice for someone — and doing it over and over is a power-play towards success that has as much to do with living a quality life as it has with finding a job. Focus on others and they will focus on you.

    Thanks, as always, for your wisdom :-)

    Deb Dib

  5. Fred says:

    Networking is fun. I agree completely. The trick is to do it all the time and not just when you are desperate for a job. Networking should be something you are doing all the time. I enjoy helping people who ask me to introduce them to others. I enjoy growing my contacts in LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. Networking can be and should be fun.

  6. Kathy says:

    Hey, Jason,

    In your previous post, you shared how difficult it was for you to begin networking, and that both knowledge of HOW to do it, along with a shift in your mindset, produced the turning point from dread to fun. How refreshing!

    I have to “ditto” Deb Dib’s reply. I love her comment about taking away the “begging” aspect previously associated with networking, to the new focus on building relationship by giving…and the FUN of giving. I’ll be sharing these additional insights with my Savvy Job Search class when we meet again.

    Thanks for sharing the “other side” of networking…the FUN side. How sunny is that? :-)

    Hugs,

    ~Kathy

  7. Jason,

    In 2006 when you and one other friend separately recommended I read “Never Eat Alone”, I took notice and bought the book. I have read it twice and am now re-reading it for a third time. It has changed the way I look at relationships and builds on principles of success in relationships I’ve read elsewhere in classics like Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People”.

    Once again I thank you for giving me a compass.

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