The ONE Thing About Networking

The One Thing You Need to Know About Networking

All month, we’ve been addressing the importance of networking and making new connections. So today, I’d like to turn the mic (or the blog) over to some of the top networkers and people connectors I know. I asked everyone:

What is the ONE thing everyone should understand about networking?

Here are their responses:

“Be prepared to show how you are supporting the creative, artistic, cultural and/or professional community you value before you tell anyone what you need. This sense of connection and contribution should be demonstrably visible in your social media as well as the ratio of how you spend your time. The number one way to network is to volunteer because it can give you social access to motivated and engaged people who would normally not be in your orbit at all. You can truly begin anywhere, though. Shop local. Buy indie. Support the arts with your presence and your heart by buying tickets to things and inviting a friend. Showing up is the new retweeting.”

— Lauren Cerand, Independent Publicist

“People have called me a super-connector, which means I know people from every walk of life. I’ve learned that networking is all about making yourself a link in a chain; the chain is your social world and you link people together.”

— Alley Ballard, Realtor with @ Properties

“When it comes to networking, I’ve learned that it’s very important to understand that you’re not always networking for the same reason. Lots of people make the mistake of going to networking events with the sole intention of getting new clients. It’s really helpful to think about 3 different types of networking events that are worth your time. These were taught to me by a business mentor, and I’ve had great results by keeping a mixture of these networking opportunities on my calendar: (1) passion driven networking (i.e., getting involved in something that gives you joy or energy regardless of whether it results in business connections), (2) collaborative partner networking, and (3) client driven networking. When it comes to the latter two, you need to really understand who your target market is and what their pain points are. The more narrowly you can define your target market and how your business provides value to that group, the more strategic you can be about which networking opportunities are worth your time and money.”

— Joey Vitale, attorney and founder of Indie Creative Law

“Effective networking is a long game. A glacier and a tsunami are both dramatic forces of nature but it’s the slow, steady effort that shifts terrain. A tsunami just causes a big-ass disaster.”

— Janet Reid, Literary Agent at New Leaf Literary

“Networking is a lot like investing – It may not yield anything instantly, but it can pay off in dividends over time. Don’t feel discouraged if you walk away from a particular event or conversation without an immediate lead or next step. Keep making those little ‘deposits’ and connections. I am regularly contacted by individuals I met months and years ago who remember my industry or projects I’ve done and now have a timely reason to collaborate – this has led to some of my biggest business opportunities.”

— Megan Shroy, Founder and President, Approach Marketing

“Networking is really about building relationships with like-minded people whom you admire and would want to have in your corner and on your team. So it’s important to start creating this vibrant network BEFORE you need to ask them to help you contribute to a project or find a new job. Once you’ve met people you like and want to get to know better, you can reach out to them in nice ways that have nothing to do with self-gain–sharing news and job leads, congratulating them on their successes, following up with them about a topic they expressed interest in when you talked together. These types of gestures go a long way toward creating relationships with people you’d like to get to know better.”

— Julia Borcherts, Publicity Manager at Kaye Publicity

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