Below is an excerpt form Dr. Ivan Misner's blog, What Networking is not, published on June 22.
Misconceptions about networking abound. I saw a newspaper editorial which implied that networkers were mercinaries who attacked a crowded room until no one was left untouched. According to the editorial, people who networked cared only about themselves and not those to whom they were speaking. The writer was basing her comments on several meetings where she had witnessed these so-called networkers in action.
There is a big difference, however, between good networking and bad networking, and what she undoubtedly saw were vivid examples of bad networking. It sounded to me as if some of the people she described had had a charisma bypass and that their major contribution to the event was to leave it. These people apparently were hawks who surrounded their quarry.
Implying that such people were typical of all networkers is a little like saying all salespeople are like Herb Tarlek, the obnoxious salesman on the TV series “WKRP in Cincinnati.” Networking is as good or bad as the person who happens to be doing it at that moment. The problem is that good networking is an acquired skill and one that not all people have acquired.
I wish that the editor who Dr. Misner refers to in this article could have seen a great networking group in action; however, I can understand her point. I have seen the same thing on numerous occasions. In the rest of this article by Dr. Misner, he explains that people can learn to be good networkers. Some networkers have the me-first attitude and so their thought process is to prey on people like a vulture.
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In the Networking Guru, Traits of Champions Networkers, I call these type of people who prey on others, piranhas. A piranha will take from you all that it can but does not intend to help you at all. Sometimes people will have a me-first attitude out of ignorance because it seems counter intuitive to think of others first. Others are taught to have a me-first attitude.
All great networkers share the philosophy of others first. I have attended numerous conferences where the speaker was introduced and the last part the bio mentioned the speakers keys to success are God first, family second, others third and himself or herself last. Wow! What a lesson could be learned by every networker if he or she would adopt that ideology.
Who do you know who has a me-first attitude? For the next few months educate him or her on the benefits of an others-first attitude and enjoy the transformation.
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Author of the Networking Guru