Posted by: OS GIKEN on Apr 28, 2010
Networking, you got to learn about this word in University, because according to the lecturers, this is the only way you can get somewhere in this corporate environment. Go to events, and talk your lips off and hope people find you interesting enough to share details with the aim of future work or knowledge sharing or or or.
Networking, in my opinion, is an overrated term for and underrated function. The function or outcome of this Networking phenomenon is to get some form of support in one or more areas of interest to you. Be it a possible job, knowledge about a future product, some contacts you can add to your Outlook Contacts or just some numbers with names to fill up your phonebook, or better still...just to get your FaceBook friends list over 5000! I don't see the point of networking, last year I went to more than 10 conferences and spoke to more than 5 people at each event, and I don't remember one name! If you ask me, it’s just a means of allowing time to pass so that everyone can go home earlier!
I have an idea, why don't they set up a banner at each conference from now on, a big red banner that everyone can see, with the words "for those interested in Networking" written big across the entire banner. That way, people interested in Networking, for whatever reason can go stand underneath this banner and know exactly why they are talking to the next person...to Network! Thus will eliminate all the small talk and allow those interested to get straight to business, getting contacts and information about the next person! Take for example, you guys have lunch after a boring Governance presentation which lasted for 2 hours and a couple of boring jokes inbetween…you really need to eat this free food, have a nice cuppa, collect your goody bag, and be off! But as you stand in line to get served, the guy behind you strikes up the conversation;
“So, how’d you find the security principals?You know, we already do that at Standard Bank, yeah, that’s where I’m from, been there for 5 years now, just got a promotion which jolted me into the 10k tax bracket, cool huh? Ey, if you interested, I might be able to land you a job there looking after our infrastructure life cycles…erm what’s your name again?”
With a slight smile “Hi, that’s great, I’m Lance from Sasol, I…”
“Oh, sorry dude, I thought you were Mike, laters…”
That’s the kind of conversations you’ll get, and that’s just in the queue for the food, what about the agonizing moment when you have to look for a place to sit, all tables are occupied, and at least 3 chairs are open at each, and everyone at each table are having fun conversations, because they are laughing and shouting and pointing…
As you sit down pointing at the chair “May I sit here?”
Those over excited white business woman start “Sure, so I’m Claire, I’m from Accenture, MD of the IT execution stream, and you are”
“Hi, I’m Lance…from…”
“Oh that’s great”
She turns to the other people at the table and continue their conversation “So laaik I was saying, they fuckin came into our yard and just read the meter, and cut it off, Eskom just works on my firkin nerves”
Wow, how’s that for Networking, talking about your issues with Eskom… At conferences you meet to strangest of people who go out of their way to seem and look important and all knowing!
All in all I still don't understand why people would strike up cheap conversation and call that Networking, hoping that in future when looking for a job or information, they can just call up their contact and ask for a job or much needed information;
"Hi, is this Ann, you might not remember me, but we were at the IBM storage conference 8 years ago, yes, we had a quick chat about duplication and we kind of exchanged business cards..."
"Yes, I was wondering if you can rotate my CV through your IT department?"
That's Networking for you...even 8 years after a brief 2 minute chat you started to freak Ann out with your impending questions about her personal life, she had to give you her business card to hurry off just to get away from you...
OS over and out - if networking is so important, would we call our casual conversations at the grocery store networking as well? What is Networking really? A way of gathering information? A way of securing a lucrative business deal? Or just a time wasting exercise to get by the dreary presentations?