This is something I’ve only learned recently, but it’s as important as anything I’ve learned in years.
You never know who you’ll meet.
Don’t just think “networking.” Often, networking implies you’re going to a gathering with a specific goal in mind; to meet someone in particular, or to sell something. Many people connect “networking” with sleazy, sales-driven shmooze-fests. That element exists in networking, no question. But it can be so much more.
It reminds me of what people say about dating…“I wasn’t looking for anyone, and then I met so-and-so.” (Presumably when people say that, they know the name of the person they’ve met. *chuckle*)
The key is: I wasn’t looking for anyone.
In the last few months I haven’t been looking for anyone in particular. I’ve just been out there a lot more than I have in the past. No expectations. No specific goal except to meet more people. And have I ever.
The result is better contacts. More interesting contacts. More valuable contacts.
Expectations can be like shackles.
Go into a gathering of people with too many strong expectations and there’s a chance you’ll come out with bubkus. Expectations can be like blinders; they don’t let you see everything that’s around you.
This is my first post in the What I Learned in 2006 Group Writing Project. You can participate too! Write a post (or more) on your blog about what you learned in 2006. Link back here. I’ll donate $5 to charity and you could win some great prizes.