This week, instead of offering you a nugget of wisdom, I’d like to share with you a story based on one of my own personal experiences.
I attended a dinner party a few months ago, hosted by a British friend and attended mostly by Brits. My friend’s girlfriend (who by the way met my friend at a Georgetown event) and I started talking about the women’s networking event we had attended a few days before. The rest of the group eventually joined our conversation, and we had a long and animated discussion on networking. The majority of people at the table thought of networking as a one-sided affair, where one person is using the other in order to get something he/she wants.
I tried like crazy to convince them that networking is about much more than that, but I failed. The only ones that agreed with me were the Brit (who was getting his MBA) and the French (who went to the US for graduate school). They understood exactly what I was trying to get at, and it made me realize that networking is, perhaps, a very American thing.
When I got home, I looked up the definition of networking, which enabled me to better understand why many in the group were so adamantly against networking:
Networking: To cultivate people who can be helpful to one professionally, especially in finding employment or moving to a higher position.
I think that there’s a lot more to networking than that definition implies. I hope that my previous blog entries (Networking Karma, Network like Crazy, and Covert Networking) help dispel the negative connotations that can sometimes be associated with networking.
Any thoughts? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.