Master Career Counselor

Carla Hunter, President of Career Span, Inc. is a Master Career Counselor (MCC) by the National Career Development Association and a Certified Career Coach by the National Board for Certified Counselors. She is an expert in writing resumes, effective job search strategies and interviewing success. Most recently, with over 20 years of navigating the complexity of today's world of work, she published "Finding Your Place in the World of Work", a career interest inventory (2014) and CareerView, an iPad app. As a private practice career counselor and a workforce development consultant, this blog is Carla's trove of ideas, trends, forecasts, and career tips for finding meaningful work.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Networking Dance

Our definition for networking must be the frame for this post:

It is the ability to become a small yet important part of a larger interconnected system of people from across one's community, industry or professional sphere to be a resource for others and access resources from others when needed based on mutual benefit and agreement.

In essence networking is a dance. It involves three important components:

1. Synchronicity
2. Timing
3. Intimacy

Without each of these three actions properly functioning at once, adjectives begin to emerge:

Networking is so awkward!
It is so uncomfortable.
It makes me feel so clumsy and ill at ease.

Imagine for a moment, the world of work is very much like the ancient rite of proper passage: attending and participating in a coutillion. First, you must RSVP properly. Next, you dress up for the occasion. Finally, you attend only to dance with partners you don't know. When my daughter attended this event in her eighth grade year, I picked her up a little early (on purpose). I walked in to a ballroom crowded with teenagers trying to find comfort in dancing with strangers. Yes, it was organized and supervised by adults who rotated the participants alphabetically so no one would be left out. However, when you slow dance with a stranger it is plain awkward. I saw this happen to my child.
When I found her in the crowd she was tolerating the last dance. It was a slow one where she had to dance close to someone she didn't know. It was interesting to watch as they tried to dance in synchronicity. They drew close for the dance but their heads were completely turned away from each other. How can you look into the eyes of complete stranger? Their uncomfortable stance was obvious body language of complete awkwardness.
Networking can be the same as a coutillion dance. Unless you've developed a fundamental relationship with the other person, it will always feel difficult to ask for what you need or to help another person when you haven't developed the relationship. Thus, we will continue to look at three imperative networking factors: synchronocity, timing and intimacy in future posts. Get ready to dance and look others in the eyes.

1 comment:

  1. I AM Listening to the Commander in Chief speaks as I write this brief. He talks about a investment in our people. Carla you talked about about networking. I am a GCDF with a lot of energy tonite I am going to share a story with you. Your article is great. There are many ways we assist, encourage, and accentuate a network each day we travel throuhout our community. Our network is like a circle, it is unique and has extreme value . Always show respect to people foster the opportunities you have to explore interviews expect to meet obstacles along the way. Success comes to the people who struggle along the road with many bumps. Do not miss opportunities to network all people you come in contact with. Happy new Year.