ed muses upon

2010/07/27

Being Network-Worthy

Filed under: job search, networking — Tags: , , , , — edmusesupon @ 5:43 pm

If you have ever attended a networking event, you have almost certainly seen this situation: one attendee has cornered another and is shamelessly monopolizing his or her time without pausing to draw breath, never mind letting the other person get a word in edgewise. Or perhaps you’ve seen this: someone who is so paralyzed by anxiety that he or she may be literally standing in the corner of the room, looking like nothing so much as a deer caught in headlights. Perhaps you have even been guilty of doing this yourself.

Well, I’m here to help!

An expression I have been hearing for several months now, first from founder of Whine & Dine Keith Bogen but more recently from Adrienne Graham is the idea that when networking, one should strive to be networkworthy. When you are networkworthy, you are someone with whom it is advantageous for others to network: worthy of networking. So let’s examine the ABCs of being networkworthy at networking events.

Add Value

There are some people who are tremendously charismatic, capable of drawing attention just walking into a room. It’s a wonderful gift and I’m always impressed when I see people like that. Many people are anxious when attending networking events because they aren’t that person. That used to be me, too. But I realized that I had outgrown that discomfort, chose to step out of my chrysalis and emerged a new me.

I made that choice by realizing that I have something relevant and insightful or informative to share. When I realized that what I had to say was helpful—that I was adding value—the anxiety melted away. Maybe it was a speaker I saw who made a point relevant to a conversation, or perhaps a news article or blog entry. It might have been a story you read in the Sunday newspaper. But whatever it is, if it’s relevant and illuminates some part of the conversation, share it! I believe firmly that one should never open one’s mouth without adding value immediately afterwards. And that’s made a big difference. But to add value to a conversation, one really must…

Be Present

It is very hard to add value without a clear understanding what is being said and what is wanted. If you cannot gauge relevance, adding value is impossible. Therefore, it is critical to be present and engaged in the conversations you have with the people you meet. Networking is about building a trusted relationship with someone who appreciates your professional value. To do this, you need to spend between 5-10 minutes having an honest-to-goodness conversation.

So take the time to appreciate that other person’s value. Or if the conversation doesn’t lend itself to that, perhaps asking about a key accomplishment might help. This is a question I use in job search groups, because job seekers on top of their game should be able to reel that off immediately. And if you see someone is in the corner and has that “deer in headlights” look, talk with him or her, draw that person out. Perhaps after learning his or her professional value, you can help him or her when you…

Connect Others

Having these conversations will help identify the needs some have: maybe one connection is uncertain about work-life balance versus pursuing a master’s degree, while another connection has just completed a second semester doing the same. The synergy is obvious: these two need to talk! Perhaps you see someone standing alone off to the side: walk over and introduce him to a more gregarious attendee. Maybe one attendee has been monopolizing the time of another attendee: you can offer a rescue, if it looks as though that would be welcome.

The next time you attend a networking event, remember: be networkworthy by remembering your ABCs!

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6 Comments »

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Heather McNab, ed han. ed han said: I have just posted this week's #blog entry (http://bit.ly/db4grj): Being Network-Worthy. […]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention Being Network-Worthy « ed muses upon -- Topsy.com — 2010/07/27 @ 6:19 pm

  2. Another hit post, Ed. Concise, and so true.

    I think the idea of “being present” is a lofty concept for many to grasp, but when you finally understand it, makes all the difference in your social networking and other dealings.

    If you’re “present,” you’re what they might call “on.”

    You’ve got to truly ENGAGE a listener, and to do that, you can’t be standing in front of him/her, but off in left field mentally.

    You have to be present, and think about how you are adding value to a given situation: connecting others, providing information, or even just a good laugh.

    Thanks for posting this Ed. I just subscribed.

    Comment by Team Burns — 2010/07/28 @ 10:21 am

    • Thank you for your kind words, Robert, and for the elaboration on what it means to be present, very well done indeed! And I definitely agree that providing a good laugh can sometimes be a meaningful way to add value.

      And thank you for the subscription!

      Comment by edmusesupon — 2010/07/28 @ 2:36 pm

  3. I stummbled upon your blog and these are great tips for networking. When I go to events with my collegues I always tell them to strategize your networking and now I will be providing the tips you wrote in this blog.

    Comment by Ryan Enriquez — 2010/07/30 @ 10:06 am

    • Ryan, thanks so much for the kind words, they’re much appreciated! I will reply in greater detail later but thank you, and I’m glad this was of some value!

      Comment by edmusesupon — 2010/07/30 @ 3:47 pm

  4. No BS and well written, thank you for the info

    Comment by Merrill Berquist — 2010/12/08 @ 12:05 am


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