- “A ‘bridge-person’ is someone who knows you well and also knows the organization you’re trying to reach, hence can serve as a bridge between you and them, and get you invited in.” In What Color is Your Parachute the late Richard Nelson Bolles rarely used the word “network.” 40+ years ago, he was ahead of his time in calling out networks as key to finding employment. Updated annually, this book is still worth reading.
- “Today, I have over 10,000 people in my phone’s contacts who will answer when I call. They are there to offer expertise, jobs, help, encouragement, and…even love.” This sounds exhausting! I’m currently reading an updated version of Keith Ferrazzi’s Never Eat Alone. Though some of his tactics leave me cold, his base values of generosity and mutual benefit sound energizing and nourishing.
- “…the time we invest in superficial relationships comes at the expense of more profound ones. We may widen our network to two, three, or four hundred people that we see as friends, not just acquaintances, but keeping up an actual friendship requires resources…” Check The New Yorker and NPR, on your Dunbar number. Is it really possible to have 10,000 people in your network? (My sources say no.)
- “If your networking strategy is simply about getting what you want, that’s called ‘using’ not ‘networking’.” Give before you get, via Paul C. Brunson.
- In “Non-Creepy Networking: Party Etiquette,” Jessica Hische offers introverts and extroverts pointers for operating in the “busy party environments” we’ll sometimes find ourselves in. (That said, the point of networking is to develop relationships. Attending events may or may not be helpful.)
- Learn how to ask for an introduction. And, learn how to introduce people. (Hint, always ask for permission.)
- (h/t to Gary Chou for a couple of these links, from the Orbital Bootcamp syllabus. I’ve been a beneficiary of Gary’s extensive thought and work on networks.)
- When you manage people, part of your job is teaching your team members how to navigate your organization’s network. Henry Ward’s article The shadow org chart is a good intro to the notion of an internal network.
- “I give, and give, and give, to the point of exhaustion,” is a lament I’ve seen on social media. Sometimes you’ve gotta say, “No.” You may decline networking requests! Networking can require emotional labor, and must be balanced with getting your own work done, spending time with loved ones, and renewing yourself. (When someone declines your request for a coffee meeting, listen to them and move on.)
- “Confidential to Friend or Phony?: The best way to judge an individual is by observing how he treats people who can do him absolutely no good.” Was it Dear Abby or Ann Landers? Ask Quote Investigator.
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©copyright Anne Libby, 2017