Real Networking isn’t Speed Dating

Real networking versus networking misconceptions. While we coached for an in-house interview for a new position within her company, a client asked about networking.

Her current role is people-centric but the new one would require much more networking.

Mini Bio of Job Seeker

  • Helped her family launch a non-profit focused on providing safety products after a young nephew was killed to help other young people avoid a similar fate.
  • Bachelors plus Masters and earned her Masters while working full time.
  • Promoted within her company once and is in a teaching role within the company in addition to her full time job.
  • Ambassador for the Chamber of Commerce.
  • One smart cookie as my coach would say.
  • Does her homework before she does anything. How do I know? For the past few years, we go to lunch or have a meeting here when she wants to learn something more. I’ve been coaching her on social media and career topics for a long time.

The question bothering her last night was the one her supervisor asked:

If you were in a room with 20 people, how many would you be able to network with in one meeting? Would you get to know one or two or would you work to get to know a large percentage?”

Real Networking is never speed dating

I told her that from my point of view, real networking is never speed dating. The person who works the room to collect the most business cards before the end of the night ends up with a pile of business cards and possibly no relationships.

My networking examples

On the other hand, the person genuinely interested in others note of people’s lives and do what they can to help. Two Design Resumes clients who will always remain my favorite real networking examples.

Real Networking by Executives

One gentleman had a keen memory for things in the lives of his network. I can remember when he was seeking a new General Manager position, he would send e-mails to contacts that would say things like: “How was the trip to Hawaii for your anniversary? I hope you and your wife had a wonderful time!”

or “How are you feeling after the shoulder surgery? Hope you are bouncing right back!” No matter who the contact was, he had a comment that showed he was listening.

In 2004, he became the CEO/President of a firm in the  food and beverage business, obviously still using his networking in the best possible way.

Real networking by pharmaceutical sales leaders

Another resume client in the pharmaceutical business. She not only remembered things about people and responded like the gentleman above, she was a giver.

Once we worked on a follow-up note to go with a book she was mailing as a thank you to someone who interviewed her. She wasn’t going to take the job but in the interview, they talked about the book, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

She planned to mail it to the interviewer. When I asked about it, she brought me another copy of the book.

This real networking expert never missed details. When I broke my leg, she knew my mom was helping me with office work. She brought two specialty salads and an assortment of bars from a local restaurant for us to eat.

She never missed the special touch. That was more than eight years ago but I still remember her special touches.

Neither of those two treated networking like speed dating.

It was all about relationship building and personalizing your encounters. You need to do the same thing whether it is networking at a meeting or networking online.

I told my young client and friend that she should do her follow up letter thanking the individual for the interview. Reinforce she understands networking needs to be quality relationships, confident she can build relationships and client base at the same time.

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Real Networking isn\'t Speed Dating


  1. Daly @ Shade Seed on February 24, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Now, those little (or not so little) gestures are what makes people like a person and remember them by, I agree.

    I also feel that they are much more than that. They also make our lives much better and our overall attitude toward life more positive. A given book, or a nice salad is what makes your day, your week and your attitude toward people better.

    • Julie Walraven on February 24, 2012 at 2:34 pm

      Thanks for stopping by again, Daly. We do remember those little things, don’t we?

  2. Joel Smith on February 26, 2012 at 4:35 am

    Amazingly simple take on the true meaning of Networking vs. Business card collecting

    • Julie Walraven on February 26, 2012 at 8:06 am

      Thanks, Joel. And my client has a second interview! 🙂

  3. Julie Walraven on March 28, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    For anyone watching this post, my client starts this new position in April… real Networking isn’t speed dating!

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