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Networking: Not Just For Business

January 17, 2009 2 comments

Networking is something that most every career oriented person does.  The saying ‘it’s not what you know, but who you know’ might be the slogan for networking.  The reason we do it: meet like minded people in a related industry or a potential client to further our career or business respectively.  Networking does not always have to be for business purposes.  Here is a recent example:

After Christmas, a friend of mine named Michelle moved from Minnesota to Nashville, TN for a promotion she accepted from General Mills.  It is a big step for a 23 year old girl to move by herself to a foreign place is a huge step.  Not knowing anyone in your new home makes it that much more difficult.

I was not worried about Michelle meeting new people.  She has one of the most outgoing personalities I have ever met.  Despite that, there’s no guarantee that Nashville would be ready with open arms to Michelle.  Brainstorming at 2am on a night where I could not sleep (as usual), the lightbulb started to shine bright, the brain was fully functioning and running full with ideas.  One of the ideas led to me think of another friend I had that lived in Nashville, Emily.

Emily and I met in New Orleans at an AMA Collegiate Conference.  A graduate of Nebraska-Lincoln, she moved to Nashville in 2007 in search for something new and a great career.   After thinking about Emily and Michelle, the rest was simple.  I talked to Emily about Michelle who was all for me giving Michelle her contact info.  That happened in a facebook message I sent to Michelle on another 2am night where I could not sleep.

Last night, Emily and Michelle finally got together, went out for drinks, text messaged meplenty in an attempt to lead me to think that they were not getting along, and had a great night. Hopefully, this is the beginning of a fantastic friendship.

Plenty of people move to new places with no friends; it is something that I don’t think I would want to do or could to at this point in my life.  This is one of the benefits of social networking sites.  People that you meet a few times, even only once, can be added to your ‘friend’ list on facebook, myspace, twitter, etc.  By keeping in touch with them, that leaves the possibility of a story like this being told down the road.  Networking brough two people together for non-business reasons, and should not be used just to advance  your career or to gain a new client.  No matter how big your client list is, or how many business cards you trade with industry people, one can never have enough real friends in their network.

I love bringing people together 🙂

Have you ever networked through a friend to meet someone new just for friendship? Would you ever try it?

~Jason Douglas

twitter: @jasondouglas

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