Sunday, November 20, 2011

How is Networking Like a High School Dance?

Do you remember going to high school dances? At the beginning, the girls were on one side of the room and the boys were on the other. Each side observing the other and no one looking totally comfortable. Inevitably one courageous soul walks across the room and invites someone to dance and the dominoes begin to fall. The dance floor fills slowly, but not everyone participates. Some cling to their friends on the sidelines while attempting to look cool. The result is a scrum of activity in the middle of the floor and a variety of observers around the perimeter.

Effective networking is about getting in the scrum, meeting new people and making connections. If you need to warm up, stay in the perimeter for a few minutes and connect to some folks who aren’t yet ready to go to the center. As soon as you are ready though move to the center. Like in high school, the people in the center are the leaders. They interact more and as a consequence get to know each other more intimately. Like in high school, your connection to the community will be driven by the quality and quantity of intimate relationships that you maintain. Let's dance!

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