5 Q & A on Smart Networking

1. What's the most critical networking mistake you see people make?

The most critical mistake is having a narrow view of networking—that it’s only for finding a job, or only to be done when you need something. It puts new networkers in a subordinate state, where they feel they have no power and they’re begging for that opportunity. It’s not a great feeling so they put it off as long as possible.

2. What are three common myths about networking?

@ Only extroverts can be good at networking

@ It’s all about passing out your business card.

@ It takes a lot of time.

But Smart Networking erases all of those myths.

3. What's your most useful tip for introverts who think they hate networking?

Advice is that you don’t have to love networking to be good at it. Don’t set that expectation for yourself. I’m an introvert too, which means I need a lot of alone time. It’s very draining to be around people all the time. I know for many introverts too, online networking can be much more comfortable because it can be easier to start a conversation with someone when they’re not standing in front of you, and you can set your own pace.

4. How would you describe a smart networking strategy in ten or fewer words?

“Networking is easier when people come to you.” The strategies in Smart Networking are all about making yourself an attractive networking target, in person and online, and then developing the skills to take advantage of those opportunities when they arise.

5. What trends are emerging in networking that we haven't heard much about yet?

The trends are towards more sharing, more user-generated media and more devices. But in the end, good relationship building skills will never go out of style. So while tools will continue to evolve to make connecting and sharing easier, if you focus on getting good at the fundamentals of networking--on building relationships to be mutually beneficial, and being someone that people know, like and trust—you can adapt to any changes that come at you.

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