The Human Network

I have a secret. Networking doesn’t come easy for me. The very term makes the hair on the back of my neck stand at attention. But I’m no shrinking violet. I get in there with the snoopy handshake. I toss around bon mots and always look people in the eyes. I’m smart, keep abreast of current events, and know a lot of world leaders’ names. Few people realize that I’m dying inside, right in front of them.

The other night I went to an event. Alone. I was sure the word ‘dork’ was tattoo’ed across my forehead. A 21st century scarlet letter. Thank God I had my IPhone.

I threw myself into that room of sharks. Of barracudas. Of piranhas even! Of dangerously smart fishy types who I knew would never take my networking bait! But of course, I was wrong. Like I always am. Like I’ve been for 20 odd years.

They weren’t fish. Or even remotely fishy. They were *humans*. And while there was a lot of jargon’y lingo’y business’y networking going on in that crowded room, there was also human chatter. I talked business, but I also talked home renos and bad backs. Haggis and kids. And about that weird mathematical thingy that has something to do with how your arm-span equals your elbow.

In Social Media we often forget the human. I’m not even talking about human beings. I mean ‘the human’. The feelings. The real world fun stuff. The life story. You didn’t get where you are because of your business acumen. Or your ROI. Or the number of followers you have. You got where you are because of who you are. Who you are made the other stuff happen. Not the other way around.My secret’s out now. I’m ‘that person’ who has been reasonably successful in spite of my fear of networking. In fact, it’s made me stronger. And probably – hopefully – a little bit more interesting.

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