One of the first things I look for in my personal or professional interactions with others is some level of interest in who I am, what makes me tick, or even how I make a living. I am really tuned into this.
I recently participated in an online networking event, which in itself is a great idea, especially for an introvert like me. A great idea, that is, if everyone has at least some networking know-how. I was disappointed, however, that at least half of those I spoke with had their own agenda: to tell me who they were, what kind of job they were looking for, and to ask me if I could help them. But this was in no way balanced by any interest in, or curiosity about me. I couldn’t wait to end the conversations. Granted, as an introvert, I’m uncomfortable with being in the spotlight and don’t like a lot of attention shined on me, but just some expression of interest can go a long way. It’s all about the balance.
I’m more than happy to help my fellow networkers however I can – when it’s a 2-way street. Good karma is alive and well when it comes to effective networking! It requires a certain mindset as well. Effective networking is not really about finding our next job, but making meaningful connections and establishing mutually beneficial professional relationships.