Oh no. Not another networking article from Hank Blank. Oh I know by now most people have read lots of networking articles. Many were read with great interest by those in transition during the Great Recession. When those people landed they read less and networked even less unless things changed on them. Corporate change moves faster than technology some times. Then they become networking believers again.
I think that some people have encountered networking fatigue because many are doing the same things over and over again. Going to the same events, talking to the same people. That type of activity is no longer networking. It’s socializing and it doesn’t build a community you can mine.
Because I believe that networking is an endless journey here is one idea that has certainly worked for me.
Create our own networking communities. When generations of immigrants would come to the U.S. or Canada they would come to the cities and more importantly the neighborhoods or three blocks in large cities where there were people that were of their same ethnic makeup or language. Those communities were support networks. Not much has changed in some ways.
I can go to Anaheim and eat in Little Arabia or go to Artesia to Little India that most people don’t know engulfed an Old Portuguese Community. But then again most people don’t know that over 30% of Orange County is foreign born like me. I was born in Toronto.
I grew up in the great white north but like many Canadians I wanted to move to sunnier spots so I live in Laguna Niguel, CA. Along with some other local Canadian friends that I have met I am one of the Founders of Canadians in OC. It is my local Canadian networking community. We have over 400 Canadians in the group without much trying.
Now when I network with people and tell them about Canadians in OC they say that’s funny eh. They may even make a Rob Ford joke. I get more ehs. Then I ask them did you know that 13% of California’s trade is with Canada and the ehs turn into ohs. No I didn’t know that they say. When I show them on LinkedIn that many companies in Orange County have key executives who are Canadians I get some additional ahs.
When they share one of their target companies and I tell them that the head of HR of that firm is Canadian they think I am the Gretzky of networking event though I can’t even skate. I got deported from Canada for that. I have met the Great One in Orange County though.
I don’t even share with that one of the largest digital projects that I did in the last two years came from a Canadian connection. Canadians like to be polite and understated. If you have ever been in a winter blow when you are a kid when it is 20 below you know you aren’t in charge of anything.
So create your own ethnic or other passion or interest community in 2014 and see where you go. Start by creating your own LinkedIn group. Stage an event to turn your on line interactions into human traction and see where your network goes and grows. In the end we are all live in villages. Create your own.
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