3 Things They Didn't Tell You About Networking

From challenges to "get social" to chants of "it's not what you know, it's who you know," the message to connect is loud and clear. For some, networking is just another day in the neighborhood. For others, the call to network is met with a hearty, "No, thank you!"



Whether you are seeking a job, building a tribe (click to follow link), or entering a new community, it is important that you do not ignore the call to network. Taking the first step may have you mentally (or physically) bolting for the door, but it doesn't have to be that way.

Buyer beware when it comes to networking advice. Here are 3 things "they" didn't tell you about networking:

One connection is enough. One meaningful connection beats scanning the most business cards (as if this were a game). Seek out someone who shares the same interests as you, has accomplished something you'd like to learn more about or someone you have something you'd like to offer o them or assist them with.

You don't have to go if you don't want to. Long week, conflicting priorities, down time in short supply . . . whatever the reason, it's OK to decline an invitation. But don't let the opportunity pass you by. Is there another time to connect you can offer to the person or group? See #1 above.

Others are looking to connect with you. Chances are, someone has spotted you from across the room. You are on their short list of people to talk with at the event and they are headed your way. take that first step, meet them half-way and you're on. You can do this.

There is more then one way to network. Not everyone can walk in to a large social situation without some angst. You can create ways to network that are comfortable to you? Is it a morning meeting, a small group dinner, a volunteer gig? You decide. 

Everyone has a networking sweet spot. What's yours?

Bloggers, Tacos and Minnesota Inspiration

Minnesota bloggers rock. I know because I spent Saturday with 150 of the best, brightest and kindest people at the 2nd annual MN Blogger Conference.

Talk about a recharge! There is no way I can capture the energy in black and white print (Kate Hopper could, but not me) so I am going do the next best thing - introduce you to a few of the people I had the pleasure of talking with, learning from and being inspired by. 

Among the people I met were Lee Svitak Dean, Food editor for the Star Tribune and author of Come One, Come All as well as Amy Peterson, writer of Green Your Plate blog. Do you see a trend here? 2 people - 1 topic . . . food. There is an amazing network of food bloogers in town and frankly, this sounds much more interesting than human resources, leadership and growth. I am a far cry from a foodie but that doesn't mean I can't add a few food blogs to my reader for inspiration, right?

Two non-foodies I met were Emma Wilhelm, an author of 8 Dimensions of Leadership, DiSC Strategies for Becoming a Better Leader and Christy Eichers, an old band leadership camp buddy of Charlie Judy, HRFishbowl. Go figure!

The inspiration continued in the sessions:

Lee Oden, Top Rank Marketing. With nothing more than a blog and some savvy community building techniques (think hub and spoke and meeting the needs of your customers) he created a globaly recognized online marketing business.

Paul DeBettignies, HireCast Consulting. After warming the crowd up he dished about networking, using the back of your business cards, being nice to others <karma always comes back to you> and the difference between lurking and stalking.

Communities may develop around a website or a blog, but they don't stop there. Led by Kate O'Reilly, Clever Kate, panel members Jen Emmert, Prior Fat Girl, Meghan Wilker, Summer of Dresses, Stephanie Meyer, Fresh Tart Steph, and Ian Schwartz, St. Paul Tweetup shared their commuity building tips: people will hate on you and you get to decide how to respond, invite people to participate in the community, and there is not best approach to community growth. 

I'm a Squarespace girl. I've felt a little alone in the Wordpress world, but no more. Enter Josh Braaten, Big Picture Web. He's my very own Squarespace connection. If you use Squarespace, think about using it or want a side-by-side comparison of Squarespace and Wordpress, he's your guy.

I heart Kate Hopper. Have you ever written a blog post that felt flat? Um, yes. Kate shared ways to ground your stories in details and bring people to life by describing tastes, smells, sounds, textures and touches. Her first book, Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers will be out in Spring 2012.

The taco bar rocked, the location was superb and the parking was free. Wait, the entire event was free thanks our sponsors Top Rank Online Marketing, Allina Hospitals and Clinics and KARE11. Yes, free!

Not sure how Missy BerggranArik Hanson and the planning team will top this in 2012 but I can't wait to find out!