Getting Into Networking

I like to network.  A lot.  Sure Networking is indispensable to your career (we've all heard that beofre), but frankly I consider it indispensable to life.  I enjoy it.  I get into it.

Realizing not everyone gets into it, I wanted to spell out some pointers that may help people get into the "networking rush."

IF YOU'RE ANY KIND OF FAN OR GEEK YOU ALREADY KNOW HOW: You just forget how good you are at it..  You've connected with people online, cosplayed in an outfit that'd make Escher loose his mind, run multifandom RPs, managed fantasy sports teams, etc.  You're probably far better at networking than you ever realized, the fun of it was just obscuring your talent.

NETWORKING IS NOT ABOUT BUSINESS AND JOBS – ITS ABOUT CONNECTING WITH PEOPLE: Do NOT network with professional intentions only, network to get to know interesting and talented people.  For some of us where life and career are barely separated, this gets fuzzy, but the fact is – connect to meet people.  Get out of the for-business-only mentality.

DO FOR OTHERS: Use networking to help others out.  It builds friends, helps builds your moral character, and does good.  Go out of your way to help out, even if it's just reading a fanfic as an editor, passing along a resume, etc.  Start by doing for others.

LISTEN: People like to talk, listen to them, engage in conversation.

EMPATHIZE: Learn to feel for people and understand them.

FIND FUN WAYS TO CONNECT: Twitter, Facebook, personal pages, personal business cards, etc.  I had fun at a get-together where people were reading from the back of one of my Fan To Pro cards.  Try to find cool new ways so you enjoy it.

DELIBERATELY SEEK OUT PEOPLE: Go out of your way to meet people, say hi, and get to know them. This helps get over shyness.

CONNECT OTHERS: Introduce people.  This lets you meet more interesting people, helps others out, and expands your network of friends, confidants, and cool people you know.

GET INVOLVED:  Do something with people – meetups, conventions, etc.  This helps keep you social and involved, and makes it fun.

This is where I think fannish networking has an advantage over the non-fans: we're USED to networking, even if we don't call it that, and we have events and activities to connect to people at.  Fans and geeks can be very social, despite negative stereotypes – learn to leverage that.

– Steven Savage