How to Succeed at Networking Without Really Trying

There are a variety things in this world of which I am not fond. One of the big ones is networking.

Interestingly enough, Peef's new job is ALL ABOUT networking and elbow rubbing. It's about knowing the right people and meeting more of the right people. It's about connections and communities and getting the right people together at the right time.

Peef is energized by the prospect of meeting new people every day. He looks forward to socializing and schmoozing and being an all around fun guy. On the other hand, just thinking about it makes ME very, very tired.

I'm the sort of person who has a few very close friends, and a great number of acquaintances. I tend to be a very loyal person, and I'm pretty dedicated when it comes to cultivating friendships. I pour a lot of energy into maintaining my friends, keeping contact with them, and creating quality experiences where we can interact, and grow, and change together. I have a much harder time when it comes to more shallow relationships.

On an intellectual level, I know that networking doesn't HAVE to be a stressful experience. Networking, at its best, is about developing relationships. It's about connecting and listening, and helping out. It's about exchanging value. And I'm GOOD at those things. So, why is networking so stressful for me?

I should be able to relax and enjoy the process of meeting new people, right? Yeah well, I can't relax.

I don't know these people. They don't know me. It's highly unlikely they're GOING to know me after a half-hour, or even 2 hours of quality contact. And, ultimately, I need to don the eternal smile and be interminably “nice” if my networking is going to be even remotely effective. The process is exhausting!

All of that said, it looks like my new life is going to include some networking events. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I'm definitely in need of some tips and tricks to keep the process from wearing me down.

Any great advice to share?


The Big Hurrah! And Something to Read

First -- the BIG NEWS. Peef is employed!! (And just look at him -- who could resist?) He got a job and started this week. He's been too busy to post the news, but I thought it was too awesome NOT to share. That said, I'm going to let HIM post the details as he sees fit.

On another note, I glimpsed something fun today while I was poking around the Internets. It's a great article about Milwaukee that appeared in Air Tran's in-flight magazine, GO. Fun trivia and great information about all the cool stuff that's going on in Milwaukee.

Very recently, someone commented to me that only two kinds of people dislike Milwaukee -- those who have lived here all of their lives and those who have never been here. And it's really true. Familiarity breeds contempt, as they say -- and people who've never left the city won't appreciate what they miss when they leave. On the other hand, people who've never been to Milwaukee can't imagine that we're something more than a rusty old industrial town that smells like cheese.

Of course, some of us know better.
Milwaukee is really one of the better kept secrets of the Midwest.

Read it here: On the Town -- Milwaukee

Honestly -- it's validating for those of us who live here and LOVE our city. It might also be inspiration for those of you who haven't visited, but really should.