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How to Enjoy Networking

Are you a good networker? Do you enjoy networking events? I find that they're a lottery, with the ominous risk of being cornered by someone without: 

  1. the empathy to see I'm not enjoying their relentless self-promotion.
  2. any interest in what I have to say. 

But if  (like me)*  you're self-employed, then you have to network, right?  Well, it helps. I've experienced two approaches:

The Worst Way to Network

The objective is to make as many connections as possible, right? Tell people all about your amazing product/service, press those cards into as many hands as you can and be on your way. Don't listen to anyone, you're just wasting precious time that you could be spending networking. The more connections the better!

This is bad. In fact, I'll go one better and say that this is soullessly offensive.

The Best Way to Network

Try to forget business and just have fun instead.  It's counter-intuitive, but I think that while you'll probably exchange a lot less cards, the chances are every one of them will result in a genuine connection; one based on personality instead of products or services. Any business that comes from the relationship will be built on this solid foundation.

This is good. Oh, and people like it.

Conclusion

Be a person. Not a networker.

*this is a command, not a description. 

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