Friday, 13 March 2009


Training courses here include one on networking for researchers, like the one I went on yesterday. But I hate deliberately networking. I love meeting people and finding out about them, but not networking for the sake of networking. I know it works in getting you contacts but it works in unexpected places and times, like when you're sitting next to someone at a Christmas dinner and you discover that they are in just the line of business you're interested in. That's liminality.

Networking is a life skill. If you want to meet a nice man, you might toodle along to a rugby club, but if you don't want to spend the rest of your Saturdays watching in the cold, then don't get involved there for the long term. Now, gliding clubs tend to have a surplus of men, and men who have a good enough earning capacity to be able to afford to glide. And women glide too. But you don't go along to a knitting club to meet men. Join a tennis club because you enjoy tennis, and you'll meet people who also enjoy tennis. You might also meet the man of your dreams.

Similarly in business, there's no point in mixing in areas that don't interest you even if you think you can pick up useful contacts. There's got to be mutual interest. Hence the usefulness of professional associations, like the Management Association, or the British Computer Society. You go along to talk about similar issues, but you might just meet someone whose work complements yours.

What I do find difficult about networking though is following up cold leads. I have one at the moment for a possible case study, but all I have is a name and phone number and I have to ring up out of the blue, which is why I'm blogging and putting off what I have to do.

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