When I speak to groups about networking, one of the first things I mention is that it is not a “get rich quick” type of activity. You can’t start one day and then all of a sudden have a solid network 30 days later.
It takes time to develop relationships and to get to know people in a manner that creates a connection with value. A shining example happened to me recently.
The US Men’s national soccer team is working to qualify for the 2018 World Cup and are at risk of not making it. They had an incredible recent performance under their new coach (that I missed) and they had another match last night that I really wanted to watch.
The problem was that it wasn’t on a network that I have at home, but up until 4 hours before game time I assumed I did (I’m not going to get into the “why you shouldn’t assume” topic – that is a whole different blog). Since I really wanted to see this game, I started frantically seeking solutions.
Couldn’t go to a bar. Have kids and they would be in bed and too young to leave at home.
My wife also wanted to watch which further disqualified the bar idea.
So I had to find a solution at home. Our cable provider claimed to have streaming video to laptops if you simply logged in to your account . After an hour of following their instructions AND calling tech support, who also couldn’t get the specific channel to work on his mobile device, I was out of luck and very frustrated.
Not only frustrated that I just wasted an hour because a company couldn’t follow through on their promises to a customer, but also frustrated that the Big10 Network was replaying their gymnastics championship from a month ago at the same time as this game when I can’t find our national team working to qualify for the largest sporting event in the world.
That is no dig on gymnastics, I ‘m just saying that this was a pretty big game and shouldn’t it be televised?
Crushed and dismayed, I vented my frustration on social media. A long-time friend with whom I share several interests reached out to me and provided a different resource I had never heard of.
Within minutes I was watching the game that I thought I was destined to miss.
My point is this: the networks we establish as we get to know people come to our aid in part because they can, but also in part because they care enough to help. They know us well enough to care.
That doesn’t happen over night or in 30 days. It takes time which is why not networking can be as much of a challenge as the actual networking itself.
The story above was only a soccer game. If we don’t take time to do it now, where will we be when we need it the most?