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From Your Quora Digest
How do I get better at networking?
Zack Freedman, Freelance HW guy. Sings for every dinner.
87.1k Views • Answer featured in Inc and 1 more.
Zack is a Most Viewed Writer in Professional Networking.
The Rules of Networking:
Networking is bullshit. You don’t “network”, you meet people. Get out of the results-oriented mindset and enjoy the conversations. Be a goddamn human about it. Put down your phone, because…
Comfort zones are bullshit. The only network worth having is one that has a diverse group. Wide and shallow is the name of the game. With a wide network, you have more interesting conversations, more options for solving problems, and more ears on the ground to spot trends. Grow some balls, leave your silo, and make friends with people who are utterly unlike you. Twitter and Facebook shield you, which is why…
Social media is bullshit. Talk to people in the real world. A lot. Expand your options using meetups, clubs, mixers, and getting friends to drag you along to their social stuff. Try and talk to everyone at the event. Ignore your business cards, because…
Business cards are bullshit. There’s exactly one reason to use a card – you take their card because you want to follow up on something they said. They like old Benzes and you have a friend who collects them? Ask for their card, write “Connect w Jeff re Benzes” on the front, pocket the card, and follow up with it. Don’t give out your card unless asked, because…
“Let’s talk later” is bullshit. They’ll never follow up with you. The ball is firmly in your court. If the conversation went well, call them back within two days, link them with what you wrote down, and check in every two weeks or so. Two weeks?! Yes, because…
You never stop selling. You never stop shipping. Your life is vibrant, fascinating, and fast-moving. Every week, you have new people to connect and new developments to tell others about. And you do so.
Your regular contact builds friends. Your excitement makes them want to listen. Your activity spreads the word that you get things done.
Conversations aren’t “How are you doing? Fine, how are you?” They’re real, visceral, and worthwhile. Most importantly, you’re actually helping people, and that’s why you start networking in the first place.