Not All Networking is Good Networking

by Joe Lavelle on December 14, 2010

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I am a strong believer in the idea that networking is one of the most important components in anyone’s career advancement.  There is something so powerful about creating that human connection and developing a mutually beneficial relationship.  I have written extensively about the great rewards that can come from networking, both here on this blog and in my book Act As If It Were Impossible to Fail.  However, not all networking is good networking.  If good judgment and discretion are not used, your attempts to connect with others in your field may end up causing lasting damage to your reputation.

Eve Tahmincioglu, who runs the blog CareerDiva.net, recently published an article for the Career site at msnbc.com entitled “I Hate to Bug You But . . . Six Networking No-Nos.” She begins with a definition of networking that I believe warrants re-posting here:

“The exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically: the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

Ms. Tahmincioglu reminds us that we need to keep our focus on the idea of the exchange.  Networking should be a back-and-forth relationship, not a one-sided and aggressive attempt at employment or a promotion.  She shares some great tips for those who may be unsure of their networking skills, all of which are based around the idea of cultivating genuine relationships.  For example, make your initial extension of information a personal one.  Don’t blanket one hundred people with the same message asking for help and hope that someone takes notice.  Also, take a few moments to thank someone for their time and advice, whether it be through a thank-you note or phone call.  Ungrateful people quickly will find the doors closing on them.

You can find some other great social networking ideas in a recent post that I wrote for Healthcare IT Today.

Please check out the entire msnbc.com article for some more great pieces of advice before you head out to network at all of those holiday parties!

Do you have an instance of poor networking skills by someone who approached you for advice or assistance?

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