My friend Vikram and I have had many chats about networking and I offered him a chance to offer a guest post on the topic -
The years in business school, you get to see a lot of the good and the bad when it comes to networking. The economy has definitely created a new class of networkers. Suddenly, we have many people who would otherwise be nowhere to be found near a networking event in peacetime are now newly found at many of the jamborees. So, if you are thinking of getting on the networking bandwagon, here are a few tips I would like to share with my fellow brave hearts.
BUSINESS CARDS PLEASE: Do not leave home without them. A true networker does not go to events without one.
LISTEN: So you just like to hear yourself? Take a breath, change tact, for once listen to the person across you, you might actually learn something.
SMILE: Yes, the economy is tough and times are at best – interesting. So, hold that chin high, have a genuine smile, and leave those worries behind. Trust me nobody wants to hear your sob stories.
BE GENUINE: Get that dose of humility. Be yourself but more importantly be genuine. The fakes and users are easy to spot.
PAY IT FORWARD: The first rule of turning those ‘500+ connections’ into relationships is to pay it forward. Be a mentor, suggest groups, people, and ideas –Yes, your time is limited but give and the world will give back to you!
EVENTS IN YOUR INDUSTRY: So you want to move into product management and do not know where to begin. Problem solved – Look for a trade organization, a meetup or a LinkedIn group for the interested area of expertise. Join one and let the learning begin.
BE PROFESSIONAL: The ‘internet’ have definitely made us more social but perhaps less humane. It would be a nice gesture to send a thank you card or even a short email to the person you just exchanged business cards with – Think again!
LINKEDIN PLEASE: Do yourself a favor, get a profile on LinkedIn.com. This is one of the best things that happened since sliced bread – Ok Facebook, Amazon, Ebay, Google and Groupon – you were already on the block
In summary, this is a brave new world. China may one day in our near future be the largest economy. You might just have to learn that second language. Meanwhile it is time we think about relationships and not just connections.
Tomorrow is a brand new day. Get rid of the ‘transactional’ and embrace the ‘relational’. Look yourself in the mirror and repeat after me - I am here to create relationships!
Vikram Moorjani is an avid networker finishing his MBA at The Merage School of Business – UC, Irvine. His interests include Product Management, Innovation, Startups, Strategy and Consulting. Connect with Vikram at www.linkedin.com/in/vikrammoorjani
Tags: Business, Ebay, Facebook, Google, Groupon, LinkedIn, Product management, Twitter