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“Unnatural Networking” for the Working Professional

by Kimberly on September 21, 2010 · 5 comments

We talk about this topic over and over again. You hear about it at conferences. You read about it in newsletters. You’re encouraged to do it for advocacy and education. I’ve even written about it on this blog and talked about it on my podcast.

What is it? Networking.

Whether to build a practice, to advocate for your profession, or to develop new programming at your facility, networking is a fact of life for most professionals.

But it doesn’t always come easily and it certainly doesn’t always come naturally.

I read an article last week titled: The Unnatural Act of Networking, written by personal growth and corporate change consultant Jeanne Male.

Jeanne’s article is written based on exploring and analyzing her own feelings about networking. She outlines possible reasons why networking can be such a drag–it feels contrived, it’s superficial, it’s too power driven–and neatly summarizes networking “objectives” that may help provide a purpose to your networking.

I encourage you to read Jeanne’s article…but don’t just read it. Read it with an awareness of the different types of networking opportunities you have and with an understanding of how you feel about them. This type of self-reflection can only improve the networking you do and how it helps you.

My first goal and attempt at self-improvement? I, for one, want to work at being better at approaching…rather than waiting to be approached.

But what about you? Leave a comment in the field below and share how you plan to improve your networking skills.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

JoAnn Jordan September 21, 2010 at 11:49 am

I find my emotions vary a lot often according to how physically or mentally tired I am. Some times I get tired of explaining the “what’s” of music therapy while other times those same questions excite me. I like finding people with whom I have find that comfortable chat. I want to become a better listener and better at asking questions that draw information from others.
.-= JoAnn Jordan´s last blog ..Why would I participate in a drum circle =-.

Jeanne Male September 22, 2010 at 8:51 am

Hi Kimberly,

What a great example of using another’s post as a springboard for thought. You’ve inspired me! Love that you encourage reading with awareness – so important!

I also wish that I had read your post prior to attending the conference that I mentioned. I would have benefitted from your “intention” to actively work at becoming more comfortable approaching. Although I met two women and established an authentic connection (my goal), I found myself regretting that I didn’t meet very many people. I don’t care to meet a lot of people and have no recollection of meeting them but I know that I can approach more and still make deep connections. So that’s my new goal. I will visit the “Art of Authentic Chit Chat” (link in my article) more frequently to bolster that intention. Kimberly, thanks so much for helping me to clarify my own goals and for your generous endorsement.

Warm regards,
Jeanne

Bonnie Hayhurst September 23, 2010 at 8:40 pm

Wonderful thoughts Kimberly and Jeanne. I was most certainly one of those people that would dread conferences. Now I am nothing but excited about conferences and all ‘networking’ opportunities. My goal this school year has been to begin using the interwebs as a networking tool to not only promote my business but also grow professionally and personally. Thanks for posting! 🙂

Kimberly October 6, 2010 at 1:04 pm

That’s great! Best of luck to you Bonnie 🙂 ~Kimberly

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