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!"

 iStockphoto

iStockphoto

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?