I’ve written several articles for other sites about the power of networking. It’s one of those things that doesn’t come easily to most folks because it seems daunting. Why would a stranger be interested in me?
My experiences tells me that humans love to connect. We’re interested in what others are doing, and we file that information later in our brains to use when we least expect it. A few examples where networking has come back to surprise me:
- Networking while working: Many co-workers whom I casually got to know at work came back to be my best advocates when I started consulting via Avalon Labs. I get requests to write press releases, conduct market research, and all sorts of interesting projects. They got to know me through work, so they associate me through work. Win-win situation.
- Networking while looking for work: Even when you don’t get a job from an interview, those connections can be valuable later on. I’ve gotten work through former potential employees who liked me from applying for a job, even though I wasn’t their ideal candidate at the time. Staying in contact with these people still propelled me forward in my career years later.
- Networking at school: If you’re still in school, don’t forget to keep in contact with all those professors, students, and classmates you meet while getting your degree. Former professors have not only helped me meet interesting people years later, but have contracted me for work.
- Networking at professional events: I used to run the marketing booth for GarageGames and would connect with hundreds of people at video game developer conferences. It’s amazing how just one casual conversation has led to numerous connections, even years later. One person heard through the grapevine that I had lost a job, and was instantly connecting me to others to find more work. Others have become part of my more casual friends networks like Facebook and Twitter.
So keep working on networking, no matter what you’re doing. It will pay off in the long run.
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