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Akihito

Since when has the term "networking" become a dirty word?

I am shocked to hear Harvard Business School students didn't realize how much gets done in this world simply by who you know. Getting a deal done, getting a job, getting your kid in a top pre-school, blah, blah, blah - it's all about who you know. Come on you HBS whiz kids - get beyond Business 101 questions.

Rob

It's funny, when I was working on my MBA at the University of KY, they had networking events all the time. I never ever went because I thought they were a waste of my time, and I was smart enough to make it on my own gumption, guts, brains, whatever. Now, I go network at just about any business function or club that will have me. Damn I was stupid.

Wayne Lambright

Networking is super easy, all you do is show-up and talk to people, its that simple, if you are shy or just want to improve your skills, I would suggest toastmasters.org, which is another fantastic way to network, infact if you become good, you'll start giving speech's on a grand scale, that's super networking.

If you live in the Bay area, there are many great ways to meet like-minded people, such as commonwealth club, Churchill club, www.theglasshouse.net and Ryze.com just show-up and bring your business cards.

Franklin

What do people recommend for those of us who realize the importance of networking, but just don't have the conversational chops to succeed. I, for example, long believed that small talk was a waste of time. Apparently I am far behind the pack in those skills now and I don't find it easy to learn those skills.

Though I haven't joined toastmasters, speeches aren't necessarily a problem for me. I don't mind getting up in front of a group and speaking about something I know about. It is the one-on-one, relationship building conversation that kills me. When in a networking situation, try as hard as I might, I always feel as though other people are forming stronger relationships than I am.

John Woolverton

To succeed in conversation requires much more listening than talking, and an actual interest in the other person.

Its a skill that's transferable from parenting. My three year old has many important things to tell me and show me; and while reviewing the differences between two hotwheels cars is not the most intellectually stimulating, I am there for him and take an interest in the things that interest him.

The more I am able to take an interest in others' projects, and encourage without being critical; the more I connect with them.

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