I often speak on networking to companies and organizations across the country and Canada. I also have been networking for years. It is the primary fuel driving my consulting career.
I know that one’s network can be a very powerful force. It has been in my life. Your network can nourish you and your network can consume you and all your time if you respond to everyone who tries to network with you. Nobody has that kind of bandwidth.
As a consultant who has to create a job for myself each and every day I have learned that saving money isn’t as important as saving time. Time is perishable. Although not always easy, money can be replenished but not time.
I am well aware of the Principle of paying it forward and have practiced that for years. I know the serendipity of networking and how it can bring surprising results. I also know that the promises of follow up by people I have networked with and helped have often been hollow. Even the practice of good networking Karma needs boundaries and limits to help you deliver on your commitments.
If you have a well established and broad network people try to use it as if it was theirs and it isn’t. More to come on that.
Sometimes to improve your productivity you have to have say no to networking. Did I say that? No to networking. This can be difficult. I know it is for me but I am getting better at it.
People often reach out to me because of my vast and elaborate network. However they are often misinformed on my influence. They invent it to rationalize their pursuit. They build their chase on false hope and fabrication. My clients have never asked me for help finding a new CIO or recommendations for new phone systems. They ask me for advice in my sweet spot capability of marketing.
When some people reach out to me they say let’s get together and see how we can help each other I think that pitch is a little old now and shows they aren’t prepared or well researched.
Let’s face it. The recession is in its fifth year and I have heard that approach many many times before. We have moved beyond that. That is an elementary invitation and not very compelling. If you have ideas to help me send them my way. I might react more favorably to that because I see that you have invested some of your time prior to asking me for my time.
What can you offer that would motivate me not to work on my clients’ business or chase more new business on my own with a better targeted prospect.
I have learned that networking can be like an addiction. For me it is fun to meet people and connect the dots but I have learned that I can’t fill my days with fun even though it can be a networking adventure. Sorry.
You can connect with Hank on Linkedin
Follow his updates on twitter @hankblank
Watch some videos on http://www.youtube.com/user/MrHankblank
Here is one called Networking Tips for Those Who Hate to Network.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7QgkLCRq4o