Always be networking — in person and on social media
In the 1992 movie “Glengarry Glen Ross,” actor Alec Baldwin’s character Blake, as he pushes his salesmen to boost sales, insisted that they “Always Be Closing.”
I think the crucial directive among professionals should instead be “Always Be Networking.”
We’re social creatures by nature and need to be even more social these days given the increasingly large role that social media plays in business.
Over the years, I’ve known a few people who shied away from group networking functions, with the rationalization that they already had ample contacts. How could any business person ever have enough contacts, whether in person or online?! That’s just like declaring you’re done learning, improving yourself and making new friends.
Since my first reporting job two and a half decades ago, I’ve amassed contacts like a most avid collector. Years ago in the iPhone 3GS days when my device was having Address Book woes, an Apple Store “genius” said he had never seen anyone with such a huge number of contacts.
During this sabbatical in which I’ve moved to North Carolina from Sacramento, I’ve loved having time to settle in, sleep late, see old friends, and fully celebrate the holidays. And, of course, during this break from work, I also have kept up each day with my Sacramento professional contacts through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Instagram.
Since I hit the road in October, I think I’ve been holding onto these contacts and my old life a little too tightly. Despite the 3,000 miles, I have continued to loyally read the Sacramento Business Journal and the Sacramento Bee, and actively share with my Sacramento contacts news stories and other tidbits through social media.
A week ago I felt disloyal shedding a few of the Sacramento individuals and businesses I followed on Twitter. Due to Twitter’s ceiling that prevents me from following more than 2,000 accounts unless I boost my follower-to-following ratio, I had to cut loose some of those folks in Sacramento in order to start following some local media outlets and North Carolina business professionals.
Through these new Twitter contacts, I learned of several networking groups, including one group’s event, which I attended a few days ago.
I felt much more comfortable walking into the event in Raleigh having first “met” a few people on Twitter, so I at least had a couple familiar names to look for on name tags. It certainly helped, too, that one of those people I “met” on Twitter moved a few years ago to this region from Sacramento.
A teetotaler at business functions, I nonetheless had a buzz — simply from the thrill of once again networking, of taking what is so far this blank slate that’s my professional life here in North Carolina, and building my first professional relationships.
I can’t imagine moving mid-career without the ability — upon arrival — to connect with other business professionals through social media.
The other Sacramento transplant I met proved to have an even better approach. The few months before I left the Sacramento Business Journal and California, I was buried with getting rid of belongings, packing and saying goodbyes. The other transplant, however, was so organized that before she left Sacramento in 2009, she diligently made contacts in her future city through Twitter. That effort, she said, helped create a smooth transition to her new professional life here in North Carolina.