I received an email from my friend Doug this morning. A busy journalist, I appreciated that he’d taken the time to listen in on my The Pitch Deck interview from a few weeks ago. 40 minutes of my insights and perspective on networking. What’s networking have to do with startup funding? Everything in my mind.
And the views I shared on The Pitch Deck, don’t just apply to entrepreneurs founding startups.
The sharing economy demands that all of us take our networks and networking activities a little more thoughtfully.
But why take my word for it? Copied and pasted from his email are Doug’s notes and takeaways on my interview (and yes, added my 2 additional cents here and there with a JKH note):
- Who do you know already? Entrepreneurs always seem to say they don’t know anyone.
- Who do you need to know? Seriously, list people. [JKH note: with a list, you know what networking activities you need to undertake.]
- Reframe. Every activity is a networking activity. How you respond to someone via email or voicemail, your signature at the bottom of an email, responding on social media. Maximize your sanity by refraining what is and is not networking.
- “If you want a friend, be a friend.” I interpret that as deciding how much social capital are you going to give away with no expectation of a return. People should always volunteer to do things because as the cliche says, “what goes around, comes around.”
- Become a connector but ask yourself why? Almost rhetorically: Tell me why this email, this clutter, I should add to someone else’s inbox? What’s the value for them? In short, have respect for the other person and tell them why should I invest some of my “social capital” to connect you to them? Get to the point of why you want to talk to someone. If you are asking someone to introduce you to someone else, explain why? [JKH note: WHY is my filter! Be able to answer the WHY — why is it valuable to the other person to meet you or learn this information or or or ]
- “Drive and dumps.” Why are you suggesting this person to me? (GAWD, I hate those too). [JKH note: I refer to emails which land with nothing more than “you 2 should know each other” as drive & dumps.]
- This is more than startup-landia. I’m applying this to recruiting and this thinking is crucial where I am in public media where there really isn’t any kind recruitment, no resources put into the kind of work you talked about in the podcast. [JKH note: Thank you Doug! Yes, this podcast is not just for startup-landia and I wish I had invented that word.]
Networking is not about “you” it’s about the other person. It’s about listening. Fear of networking is often pushed into the “I’m an introvert” category. It’s really about listening.
Finally, and I have this happen all the time, I give away ALL of my contact info in places where I have been invited to talk…less than 5% bother to follow up. Those who follow up, get my attention.
Great talk Kelly. Very on point .. [JKH note — thank you Doug and I truly appreciate your takeaways.]