The Art of Networking. The Art of Being Genuine. The Art of Not Burning Bridges.



Because Life is Complicated Enough was created for a couple of reasons. First, I have a lot to say and am very opinionated and while I think many of my foodies can appreciate that about me, I am not certain all of my opinions and advice should be mixed in with my recipes. Second, somebody really infuriated me in the food blogging world and I needed an outlet to write about it.

That brings me to why I am writing today. Last February a pretentious foodie demanded I follow her orders… or else. Or else? She obviously had no idea who she was dealing with because I do not take idle threats lightly and I will put anybody on blast if I think they are out of order. Like I have said before, it is in my blood. However, something more happened in her moment of pure pretentiousness.

She instantly lost her ability to network with me. Networking is a critical piece to many puzzles, especially in the professional world. I am by no means a professional epicure or a professional blogger, but I do know a lot of incredible foodies who have blogs and, at one point or another, we have all helped generate support, attention and notoriety for each other.

She missed out.

What is this post all about? Well, it really boils down to networking. Networking is simply another term for developing and maintaining contacts and personal connections with a bunch of different people who have the potential of helping you further your career. Now, for most of us, the foodie and blogging world is far from a career, but this standard of communication can really come in handy when trying to expand your circle of followers and page friends.

It is important to remember that every page you encounter and every person that takes a minute out of their day to follow you is an actual person. Be nice to them.

Plenty of people will give you the networking rundown if you ask them; and, believe me, it can become very overwhelming and that is because so many people have their own views of important networking tips that worked for them.

Here are some very basic networking essentials:

  • First, meet people who can actually help you attain your goal [whatever goal that may be]
  • Second, collect and update contact and personal information about these people
  • Third, keep in regular contact with these people. It is important they remember who you are and also that you have the stamina to maintain a relationship with him/her
  • Fourth, remember to thank people for their help. Never let help from other people go unnoticed; thank them personally and remember to help them if they need help!
  • Finally, do not EVER expect your contacts to do the work for you; do not EVER demand them to do something for you; and, NEVER guilt people into doing the networking for you either!

Bingo! It’s the last one. You got me. That’s why I am writing this post today. I am a woman scorned and I will not be messed with.

It is incomprehensible to me that anybody would ever demand or guilt somebody else into networking for them. Are you kidding me?

Alas, human kind has failed me again. Yes, that means exactly what you think it means. Somebody actually had the audacity to guilt people into networking for them. I witnessed it with my own two eyes and I was appalled for half of the night last night. I was beyond appalled; and, I have no idea what that even is.

I will tell you it was not in a professional setting; but that does not make a difference to me. I have worked for EVERYTHING I have [and don’t have, for that matter] in life, including my blog, and so have most of the people I know.

Don’t get me wrong, I have asked for a lot of help through the years, and even recently with my blog. Asking for help is IMPERATIVE in a world where a clogged toilet can be confusing. It is imperative to ask questions and ask for help. Simply imperative. However, for me, there is a line in networking and in seeking help that you should not cross. And if I sound pompous, I apologize, but if you cross that line and I am witness to that line being crossed, you are no longer credible to me as a professional [or a food blogger].

Yes, it is a hard decision to make, but unfortunately I made that decision last night.

For me networking and communicating with all of my friends in my virtual foodie world puts a smile on my face every single day. It is fun. It is exciting. Every day I know I am going to run into somebody new or a new recipe. I know it. And I think when you are having fun with what you are doing, when you are treating your friends, partners, competition, fellow foodies with respect and admiration, then good things will follow – new followers, new shouts, increased numbers, etc or a new job, new professional opportunities, etc. Whether it is in your virtual life or your professional life the way you treat people and how you conduct yourself is imperative to success, even if your success is slow and steady and does not take off like a wild fire.

Ever heard the story of the tortuous and the hare?

Life –professional or virtual - is not a popularity contest. For instance, instead of worrying about the amount of followers you may have on your website, worry about communicating and creating a bond with the people you have now. If you are successful with that, you are bound to increase your activity, no matter what!

The importance of networking is not to create a bunch of superficial connections only to use them to your benefit, or call in a favor when you need it or guilt people into doing what you want them to. No, networking is about boosting your relationships with other people knowing that if you are sincere in your pursuit, they will be sincere in their will to help you. Superficiality will always yield a disastrous outcome.

So, as I sit here with one person in mind I cannot help but to reflect on the moment this person appalled me. I had a few choice words and more than a few choice thoughts, which led me here today. While I may instantly put a person on blast when they are abusing their position, in some instances I will bite my tongue. In this particular instance, I will not approach the person, I will not tell you who the person is and I will not treat the person any differently. Wondering why, huh?

I will tell you. In some instances a person’s actions, as vile as they may be, create an outlet for something greater. How can something great come out of something vile? Well, take this post for instance. When this person crossed the line from trying to network to guilting & demanding others to help him/her in his/her networking endeavors it lit a fire under me. And that fire compelled me to think about the situation and write about the importance of networking and the importance of doing it right and not abusing the relationships you build [whether professionally or otherwise]. See, that’s a good thing, right?

Remember,

Networking is important;

Networking the right way is imperative;

Do not cross the line from networking to demanding your connections do something for you; and

Life is not a popularity contest, so have fun!

Because Life is Complicated Enough… without having to worry who is going to like you or hate you for not falling into their demands, I wrote this post to help you remember that life is not a popularity contest and you should not take people who do this to you so seriously!

Until Next Time,

Happy Networking