Networking is vital, but don’t get too pushy
Started reading Networked: The New Social Operating System by Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman. It’s a fascinating look at the way societal trends have shaped the way we communicate. I’ll do a book report after I’m finished.
But, for now, I’d like to share a few thoughts that have been bubbling in my head as I soak in the knowledge from Networked.
For one, I’ve been thinking about those who serve as powerful networkers — those who nurture powerful connections and get a lot of great things accomplished due to their networking skills. The people I admire are humble, giving, go-getters who attract the same into their worlds. They work hard and have passion for the causes that motivate them.
Also, I’ve been pondering those who go about networking in entirely the wrong way. For example, I got a LinkedIn invite from a financial services person recently who really played up our common bond as Ohio University grads. Literally within a minute of accepting his invitation, he wanted to meet with me in-person to talk about my financial needs. Soon, there was a voice mail at work. Then, an e-mail. Got to admire his persistence, but it was a major turn-off to me.
However, I feel like I’ve been on the other end at times. I recall years ago when the editor of a trade publication I was trying to pitch told me to back off — in not so polite of terms. I told my boss, who congratulated me for being persistent. He didn’t want a timid PR pro trying to sell the trades on our company’s story.
My biggest lesson — from being a reporter/editor and a PR pro and a human being in this era of networks — is that relationships develop at various paces. Sometimes quickly. Sometimes slowly. It just depends.
You learn when to push harder, and when to back off. You realize that you’re in this for the long haul. Seeds that you plant now may pay off literally years down the road.