Reblogged from Vertical Takeoff:
For most people “networking” is a four letter word, because it most commonly refers to an awful, forced, agenda-driven version of socializing and conversation that very rarely yields benefits and almost never results in relationships.
The trick is, then, to network differently. Harvard Business Review offers this advice:
The building blocks of a great network aren’t purpose-driven meetings — they’re casual encounters and agenda-less coffee catch-ups. As often as possible, say yes to invitations, even if it’s not clear what you’ll get out of them. You may know the person’s occupation, industry, and job title — but you don’t know what they may be an expert in, and you certainly don’t know who they know. Of course you can’t take every meeting nor should you enter long, unstructured conversations with everyone you meet. But regularly connecting without a reason or purpose — with people who seem to be doing interesting things — can have unexpected benefits.
– Adapted from “Never Say No to Networking” by Kathryn Minshew.
This is, of course, exactly why the LA Tech Happy Hour keeps working, and why we not only maintain the community, but try to expand it when possible (see: Tech HH Alliance). It’s not about nametag networking and quick draw business card distribution. It’s people interacting like people, and letting conversations happen. We just choose to do it at bars, with “people who seem to be doing interesting things”.
Maybe I’m just trying to justify my quest to become a professional drinker; but what if I’m right…