“Networking” isn’t just drinking a glass of chardonnay at a party while chitchatting about your career. It isn’t handing your business card to someone and walking away. It isn’t “connecting” with someone on LinkedIn without any sort of introduction or follow-up.
To be an effective networker, you have to put in the time and effort, do your homework, step out of your comfort zone, and avoid the common mistakes many people make. Last week we discussed not dressing down for networking events. This week let us discuss who you are networking with.
“You should behave here like everyone you interact with has the potential… to get you a cover story in The New York Times – because many of them do,” Tim Ferris, author of “The 4-Hour Workweek”, once told Business Insider in an interview. This came in handy at an event in 2007 when he was standing in line for a movie screening and asked a muscly man in front of him how he got such big forearms. They started chatting and Ferriss realized he was speaking with filmmaker Morgan Spurlock’s brother, who connected him with Morgan, who later used Ferriss as his subject for an episode of “A Day in the Life.”
Don’t dismiss people who do not look important enough to you. Sometimes it is the secretary that will get the job done, not the president.