Why is it called networking? Should networking be all work? Shouldn’t some of it be netfunning? Whether you’re representing your company at an event, branding yourself on social media, or looking for a job while attending a group function, is it OK to have fun while networking? I think so.
Yes, it’s OK to Have Netfun
It’s not only OK, it’s better than not having fun. Real people have fun (Vulcans excluded). If you’re all work and no play while networking, you might come off as phony and unreal. More than ever it’s important to be real and show some transparency because we’re all connected. In business it’s always been important to show you knew how to have fun. Golf course business meetings, after-hour dinners, and everyday activities often go better and are more productive with a little fun.
How to Netfun
Listen — If all you do is recite your canned and rehearsed elevator pitch, no one, especially you, is going to enjoy it. Open up, follow others lead, and join the conversation.
Make New Friends — Most friendships begin as introductions, don’t they? Introduce yourself and get acquainted. I met a few of my favorite people in the world netfunning on and offline while netfunning.
Help Others — If you know me, you know I strongly believe in reciprocal marketing, help networking, and giving for giving’s sake. What you may not know is how selfish I am about this. Helping others is a privilege and great fun.
Be a Little Weird — The online fashion retailer, Zappos, lists 10 Core Values, number three is, “Create Fun and a little Weirdness.” During an event I attended, tickets were drawn for door prize drawing. The winners last name was announced. When the host drew the ticket and called out “Howl” I did. I let out a howl. (Yes, I’m weird.) When Mr. Howl was introduced, the room erupted in howls. Several “howlers” chatted with me after the event, we were netfunning.
If all you’re doing is networking and not netfunning, you’re presenting a false image of yourself (unless, of course, you’re Vulcan). Meaningful business and social connections may be made while having fun. When you’re having fun, you’re not presenting a flat, one-dimensional picture of yourself, but a 3D panoramic view of who you are. And that’s much more attractive than any elevator pitch. Now go do some netfunning.
Are You a Good Networker?
I’d always considered myself an effective networker. I’m friendly, easy to talk to, and I’ve never met a stranger. However, none of that makes me a good networker – it makes me outgoing. If I wanted to be the most effective networker I could be, I needed a plan. That’s how my networking workbook, Help Networking started.
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