The Art of Project Management: Expert advice from experienced project managers in Silicon Valley, and around the world
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Why You Fail At Networking

photo by Rob Boudon

OK, sorry about that subject line. I don’t really know if you suck at networking or not. But we can all get better at it, and I’d wager that 90% of us really do ‘fail’ at it.

But I know some people do, because I get email on a regular basis asking me to do something for someone who I don’t even know. Now I don’t mind that when it comes to questions about project management or the PMP exam, etc. I actively seek these questions from the pmStudent community.

But I do get lots of requests from other companies and people asking me for a link to their site, promote what they are doing, review their book or software, etc.

I don’t even know these people!

That’s A Problem

If the first time someone interacts with you, you are asking them for something, that’s not a great start.

This is especially true when you are networking.

Networking Is A Process, Not An Event

Too many people see networking as something you do when you are looking for a job. That is soooo wrong.

The goal of networking is to build a relationship with people by being likable and helping them get what they want. When you do this consistently over time, the relationships you build will be available if and when you need them. Referrals, mentoring, encouragement and support, you name it.

P.S. I’d be lying if I said I do this without fault. There are many relationships in my network I’ve let atrophy because I haven’t been consistent enough in reaching out to them. This is a good reminder to myself to get busy.

What are your top networking tips?

About the Author

Josh helps new and aspiring project managers reach their career goals. He has been managing projects in Computing, Financial Services, Telecommunications, and Aerospace for over a decade. Josh’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Project Management and he is PMP certified. The best method for tapping into Josh’s knowledge and experience is his training for project management, where Josh shares his best practices for how to get ahead in your project management career and his best practices in specific project management processes.
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One Response to “Why You Fail At Networking”

  1. You are right about it being a process not an event. Many people seem to think of networking as what they do when they don’t like their job anymore and want a new one.

    My tip is to help people. If you help people, many will notice, appreciate it, and be ready and willing to return the favor.

    I just recently wrote about networking on my blog http://management.curiouscatblog.net/2011/10/11/networking-is-valuable-but-difficult-to-quantify/

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