Over time I have realised just how important networking is, and by networking I mean building up contacts with genuine people. It really annoys me when someone says to me they only meet people to get “something out of them” for their own career. To me, that isn’t networking, that is arse-kissing and wont build trust, loyalty or help with your career, and will certainly not last that long. I hope that all my ‘networks’ turn into lasting friendships that are mutually beneficial- I love meeting great people and I know that I would do everything I could to help a friend and their career.
For example, I went to a meeting today and I was kept waiting 45 minutes. I nearly walked out, but I like to give everyone a chance. When the people finally turned up, they didn’t apologise and had no excuse for being late to see me. I was then introduced to some dubious characters who just wanted to know about my career and when I asked polite questions about their interests and their career, they refused to talk to me about it! I felt like saying “excuse me, someone needs to explain good communication to you!”
Needless to say, after a few hours (yes, I actually put up with this for hours!) I explained to them how unprofessional the whole afternoon had been, how nothing had been explained to me detailing the day and the events that were to take place, and I certainly did not see any future with them. And so I walked away from it all. To most people it would seem like a waste of a day, but I always learn things from these experiences, and its propelled me into making this blog today.
What is most bizarre about the experience is that these people were part of marketing, sales and communications. These are the sort of people being trained to talk to people. Go figure! Well, they certainly wont be making a friend in me. This also brings me to another point- meeting people face to face. When initially arranging the meeting, communication took place via phone and I was spoken to by someone who seemed quite genuine. But what a difference face to face makes as illustrated above! ALWAYS try and meet the people you network with or are about to network with. Nothing beats face to face contact.
I am proud to say that my networks are full of positive, amazing people (I like to gush about others haha) and like every type of relationship, it is a two way street. We help each other out whenever we can, offer support and advice, and connect one another to others if we can. I am quite selective with my friends and networks but I see that as a positive thing, and I would advise others to do the same. What is more important- having a network of a 1,000 professional people you hardly know, or having a network of 500 professional people who you know and trust?