Networking: It doesn’t have to be a dirty word.

8 February 2006

“Networking” gets a bad name because of the shallow back-slappers who engage in it. But if we take “networking” to mean “the process of building human relationships with lots of people who share interests with us,” then it becomes something wonderful. As I’ve indicated before, my favorite writer on this subject is Keith Ferrazzi. His book, Never Eat Alone sits on my nightstand so I can dig new ideas out of it before I nod off at night; similarly, his blog is on my daily RSS rounds. Here are links to some of his best columns from Inc. magazine’s site:

Lessons from the Green
Do Your Homework (Really)
Finding Your Currency

Another favorite writer of mine, Guy Kawasaki covered some of the same ground in short format with his recent blog post/essay, “The Art of Schmoozing“.

This piece from David Lorenzo addresses the ways you can mobilize your friends, family, and other contacts to help you as you look for a new job or new customers in your career. Lorenzo encapsulates something great: “Friendships are valuable. The people you know should be your greatest asset as you develop your career. Give them every opportunity to help you. As long as you are providing great value, don’t be afraid to leverage your social network for the benefits it can provide.” Too many people, in my experience, hesitate to tell others what they’re doing, what is most meaningful to them, and what they’d like to get out of life. (My blog represents part of my personal antidote to this.)

Even though a lot of ought to be common wisdom–much of this ground was covered decades ago in Dale Carnegie’s best-known book–it still needs saying. Much of the value we derive from life comes from either (a) objectives we pursue and attain, or (b) relationships we build. Doing both at once–which is the good kind of networking–is a double blessing.

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