Another networking article with “normal” in the subject line hit my inbox this week.
I don’t know about you, but 18 months or so of dealing with COVID, and I’d say nothing is normal. While we’d all like some normality aka certainty (’cause yes, our brains love the tried + true), there is nothing, absolutely nothing normal about what’s happening right now – unless normal is tiring, unequal, frustrating, uncertain, ambiguous, tempting, novel, uncomfortable, pragmatic, sensitive, resourceful, creative…in other words, normal is a range of emotions and experiences, depending on who and when you ask.
Your normal is not my normal or anybody else’s normal.
The mistake is espousing a single set of networking rules for navigating the “new or next normal” is it bypasses reality: while the pandemic is an ongoing shared global experience, it’s also been a uniquely personal one too. There are impacts we must navigate because we are part of a community then there are the thresholds of comfort where our individual preferences kick-in. Figuring out how to connect right now, requires awareness and sensitivity, to how you’re feeling (and what you’re needing) then stopping before you imagine someone else is feeling precisely the same way you are.
What should become “normal” is pausing before acting – and showing a willingness to enter open (perhaps even awkward) conversations about how we’re feeling, what we’re comfortable with and what we’re capable of delivering.
What should be normal is challenging old networking norms!
I recognize it’s easier to send a formulaic “let’s meet for…or connect over…” networking email, and heck yes, it’s far easier to assume others feel the way you do but IMHO you’ll make stronger connections by choosing, a different, decidedly not-the-old-normal networking approach, starting today.
Books + Blogs to add some oomph to your networking skills:
- Let’s Talk About Hard Things by Anna Sale, host of the podcast Death, Sex + Money
- How To Network Without Being Annoying?
- One, And Pretty Much Networking Done
Need more #BYDN networking advice, check out these recent podcast interviews: