Do you know if people like you or not? BY SOULAIMA GOURANI ON MAY 24, 2012
Do you know if you are someone people warn others about or someone they recommend to others? You meet people that you either know or do not know every day. You are networking all the time even if you are not aware of it. Many people apply a commercial- or transaction-oriented focus when they are networking. You can compare networking styles to both fast food and slow food. Fast food is like fast networking, which “satisfies the appetite,” but only for a short time. Relatively quickly, you then have to go out and find new relationships so you can “eat your fill” again. When you network at a high speed, the people with whom you have built relationships rarely get back to you after having met you, and if they do, they will most likely not recommend you to other people.
Why you should consider slow networking? If you network as if you were eating slow food, you choose to focus on quality and the complete experience of developing the relationship—not just the “consumption.” Networking at a slow pace enables you to take your time to get to know the person so that you can treat him/her individually in accordance with his/hers needs and expectations. Keep in mind that it takes time to build a solid network and a strong relationship with another human being. Therefore, it is important to be patient. Do not ask for too much help and advice until you feel that the relationship is solid. It is okay to be on your toes, but be careful that people in your network do not feel that you are putting too much pressure on them. There is a thin line between networking and stalking, and you don’t want to be branded as a stalker. People call and leave messages or spam via e-mail and text messages. It is good to show persistence, but this should be done with much thought. You should always consider whether you are coming on too strong. Think about each individual person. Listen carefully to what this person is saying. People are commonly polite, but it is not necessarily always the case that such politeness is an invitation for further dialogue. Whether face-to-face or in writing, read between the lines to find out if the person in question really wants to network with you.
I personally benefit from these rules of thumb:
Do you receive a relatively quick response after contacting them? If yes, then at least they are in a dialogue with you.
If you request a meeting, does the person reply quickly (within two days) with a positive response, which includes a suggestion for a date and time to meet?
Do they keep appointments with you and respond to your follow-up e-mail, and do you agree on the next step?
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