The design guys at We Are Seen Creative suggest that status quo networking does not work. That is, the idea of getting to know everyone you come in contact with in an effort to turn an eventual sale or hook up with needed talent. The article claims the key to efficient networking is to “find the key nodes in the network [and] don’t network just for the sake of networking.” Right. The idea is you can spend less time networking if you hook up people who know a ton of people rather than spending all your time personally getting to know a ton of people. Said individuals are often called connectors. And secondly, don’t justify lost productivity because you’re sitting at some boring luncheon while not meeting people.
I agree that genuinely getting to know connectors can speed up your reach, but the romantic in me doesn’t want to discount my personal attempts to network with everybody as the article seems to imply. Should you bypass getting to know someone just because they’re a cashier or you don’t feel they’re “connector” material? I don’t think so. How much time does networking really take? You can do it by asking a few sincere questions with individuals you come in contact with. Hence, there is no material time lost asking “How are you?” “Where are you from?” and “What are you passionate about?” If you strike a chord from there, you’ve got a contact in some shape or form I’m convinced will benefit all parties at a later time. But then again, I’m a romantic.
So what’s your networking strategy? Do you have a conscious one or is it something you just do? And would you agree that trying to meet everyone is a waste of time in favor of connectors and “big deal” people? I’m in no way case study on networking, so opine in the comments, please.