More suggestions for networking

As I continue examining recent articles on networking to share with you, I’ve been finding really interesting advice that comes at the topic from a variety of angles. Today I’m going to briefly review and comment on three more articles.

We’ll start with one that is applicable to everyone, a Forbes article titled “The Only Three Networking Rules You Really Need to Know.” You can read the article yourself to get all the details, but the basic “rules” are:

  1. Network “clean,” which is a very strange way of saying that you should think of networking as a way to make industry “friends,” not professional contacts. There’s a logic to what they’re saying, but I wish the advice had been explained more clearly.
  2. Own your value, which means don’t forget that networking is a two-way street. You’re not just looking for something from others, you have something to offer—so remember to put it out there!
  3. Farm strategically, which is a strange metaphor that they use to talk about networking in such a way that you will produce the result (harvest the crop?) that you seek.

Despite any quibbles about how the article presents the information, it does contain some good ideas about networking effectively.

The second article, “Networking When You Hate Talking to Strangers,” comes from the Harvard Business Review and is intended for those of you who are introverts. The tips are all logical, but not terribly innovative: Take a friend with you, prepare some opening lines, do research about the people you want to meet. The best part of this article is a set of suggestions about some opening lines that just might work! If you’re less than supremely comfortable with public speaking, it would probably be worth your time to take a look.

The title of the third article, Huffington Post’s “Shy Girl’s Guide to Networking,” suggests that the advice will be specific to women, but I don’t see anything in it that wouldn’t work for either sex. The suggestions include get a drink (and talk to the other people in line at the bar), don’t be afraid to stand by yourself for a while and observe the crowd (although I would take this suggestion one step further and propose that you use the time to identify someone else who looks awkward and go introduce yourself to that person, who will probably thank you for easing their discomfort), focus on meeting just two or three people instead of feeling that you have to talk with everyone in the room, and be yourself.

The real lesson from all these articles is that if you need help with networking, there’s plenty of help available! And as I find additional worthy articles, I’ll share them with you here.