There’s this article over at Inc.com that I really like called “The 10 Secrets of a Master Networker“, where reknown networker Keith Ferrazzi shares his secrets with Inc.com’s reporter.
The thing that really struck me about this article is how much it makes networking sound like fun. Now, I’m not the best person to make small talk, in fact, I hate it sometimes, but I’ve grown to realize the importance of knowing people, and building a strong network of not just colleagues, but friends and family around you.
A couple of his 10 secrets that I especially like:
Rule 7: Always ask.
My uncle was the first one who told me this, and Keith echoes it; “…it never hurts to ask. The worst anyone can say is no. Not many people believe that. Embarrassment and fear are debilitating.”
I can remember some of the best rewards I’ve gotten were from times when I put myself on the line and just asked, swallowing my fears of rejection. And so far, the times it’s paid off have more than made up for the times when I’ve been rejected.
Rule 9: Ping constantly.
He’s borrowing a computer term, it just means to reach out and constantly stay in touch with people, even if it’s just a short email or phone call. I really like this one, and I’ve been putting it to practice ever since I read this article. For those of you wondering why you’ve suddenly been recieving SMSes from me, this is why.
But the best thing out of this article for me is this:
“Superficiality is not networking. There are people who have lots of superficial connections, and people call that networking. But that’s not successful. You feel dirty when you talk to someone like that. The outcome of good networking is the capacity to have a conversation with anyone you want to have a conversation with and then to leave that conversation with a lasting connection of some sort.”
There’s often a feeling of sleeze and an image of fakeness connected with networking, but Keith seems to have a much more sincere take on it, and that’s something I can admire, and I think we can all learn from.