Networking system from an awkward networker 👀

If you leave me in a conference hallway, I freeze. It is equal to me standing in Ranganathan street. For those who don’t know the speciality of the street: it is a street full of busy strangers minding their own business and not giving you even space to walk in the heart of Chennai.

A room full of strangers gives me anxiety. I hate card exchanges because I know what I do with those cards. I also know the cost and work behind those cards. I don’t want it to be wasted.

All things humans are slow. How can networking alone be fast? In my view, speed networking is an absurd way of networking.

I used to think I suck at networking, and I am horrible in conferences. Looks like I am not alone. Walking into a room full of strangers can be overwhelming for a lot of us.

Connecting dots backwards, there is a structured process for developing top notch human relationships.

  1. Share your perspectives/point of views/interests consistently to a large group of people. Social media is a great way to distribute your message.
  2. A few folks will either agree or disagree with what you've posted. These are the people who are willing to give their time and attention to you. Usually most of them will be muted and don’t worry about them.
  3. Out of this group, a small percentage will want to take the relationship further and ask for a one-one meet-up. You can choose to accept or decline.
  4. In that 1:1 meeting is where you actually start a relationship. You're both giving your time, which is a valuable signal that you value each other's company.
  5. This meeting can lead to asynchronous communication via direct messages, and eventually, a close friendship. Of course, not everyone wants a close friendship. Some people prefer a more transactional relationship, where they ask for what they need, and you respond accordingly. And that's okay.
  6. It remains a desirability-based relationship till you add vulnerability to the relationship. The vibe changes completely. That is when you become a friend. A friend is another self. The line starts blurring where you begin and where the other person ends. You can comfortably call this your inner circle.

    This is beyond the manipulative measures you read in How to win friends. Sorry Dale!

    Take a snapshot of your circles every year and see that very few people become friends in the inner circle and remain there. There are a number of people who remain as acquaintance. A large number of people remain as strangers.

    The typical ratio is 15 (inner circle -time and vulnerability): 150(second circle - time yes. Vulnerable no):1500(third circle -acquaintance):1500000(I have seen you in social media):7.99B(strangers)

    Networking takes times. It is a process. It follows the compounding principle. Sometimes the compounding breaks, and you may have to start over. That is the nature of the beast. #networking#lifedesign

Subscribe to Karthi's Blog

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.