Does anyone really love networking? The whole concept has a bad reputation, tainted as it is with our ideas of wheeler-dealers circling a cocktail party like sharks with business cards in their fins. But of course, "networking" is really just a yucky word for a concept that most of us probably find more than acceptable: making connections with our fellow humans, only this time, in the service of our careers instead of our social lives.
Still not buying it? Robin Abrahams, the Boston Globe's Miss Conduct, has a few tips for you:
1. Be honest.
Don't pretend you're interested in one thing when you're after another. If you want a favor, just ask straight out. Abrahams suggests appending your request with a face saver: "If this isn't a good time, I understand."
2. Be generous.
Don't just talk about yourself. Listen to other people and be open to their agendas, too.
3. Be surprising.
Don't rely on snark, and don't be afraid to ask the obvious question. Show people that they can be comfortable exploring new ideas in your presence.
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