I mentioned in my previous post a certain networking event with PinkSlipsMixers. After the post, I attended the really cool event that saw held on Labor Day in Pasadena’s Bar Celona. and was reminded of one of the fuel that drives the engine of networking: Mutually supportive intent and actions.
I believe it was John Charnay, a mover and shaker in LA’s PR community and a fundraising king for non profits, who explained the mechanics of networking in a course I took some years ago in UCLA’s Extension program. (If it wasn’t John, he can still take credit for it . . . ). He explained that networking relies on people helping one another. You start with small actions – a referral to a colleague, the phone number of a hiring manager who’s hard to pin down. If the recipient is thankful, they will go out of their way to return the favor. Even if something isn’t asked of them, they will send their networking colleague a link to a useful article, etc.
Then, you might build on those actions with bigger favors.
What kills a networking relationship is taking, not giving. In a word, don’t do this. Value your network and treat it like a resource as well friendships, information, leads, and insights.
At Bar Celona, I ran into a woman who I had met at a previous networking event and who I had found full of knowledge and energy. With her recent experience in public relations, I had asked her for feedback on media relations for my wife’s business, DebsCouture. She gave me some useful tips that worked well. When I saw Helen Itabashi at Bar Celona, she asked for some help with naming a business she is starting – creating hand made greeting cards and selling some beautiful quilting squares made by her mother. While we had some fun with brainstorming, I promised her I would take away the assignment of giving her some ideas. We’re helping each other.
What about you? Have you been networking – I mean in addition to LinkedIn? What are your favorite tips?