I have been networking for decades even before it was the current social and business rage and rave.
So when is the best time to build your network?
By far the best time to build your network in these times is while you are working. Harvey McKay wrote a book on it a few years ago called Dig Your Well Before you are Thirsty.
Many people quite eagerly try to build their network during the desert of unemployment or financial need but rarely network in the oasis of employment and limited needs. They are too busy to be planning for the future in the New Normal.
Here’s what I see. I know some people who during the great recession that started when the World melted beginning in August 2008 or before have now had one or two or maybe three short term jobs during that time. Things change quickly in these times.
I only hear from them when they are in the desert between those jobs. When they are working they don’t reach out to me to see if I can help them. They aren’t thinking of me.
When they are in the desert they reach out very quickly because they know I have a very large and substantial network and often hear about jobs. But I am not a public service funded by the government.
Quite frankly I don’t really feel very compelled to help. There are many people out there and I only have so much time. I speak often to people in transition so I know that I have satisfied my pay it forward quotient.
Then on occasion I meet people doing it another way. I meet them at events like Laguna Niguel Connectors. They are working. I ask them why they are at a networking event largely populated by people in transition. They say they remember the desert and the promise they made that if they ever got to the oasis they would remember those times and try to help in any way they can.
These people are rare and they stand out. I may never do business with them but if they were ever in the desert and reached out to me I would immediately help. They have a measure of sincerity which is compelling.
If you want people to be thinking of you when you are in the desert you need to be thinking of them when you are in the oasis.
It is as simple as that.
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