Why People Don't Network: Especially College Grads

I’m too busy. While it is true that there is little free time in life these days, time spent building a network of contacts is an investment in your future.

Am I worthy? Self-doubt is another excuse for avoiding connecting with others. This is silly, of course, because the point of networking is showing others what you can bring to the table. People want to know who you are. If you prove that you are reliable, and intend to contribute to others success in addition to your own, people will want to know you - even executives at the highest levels. Consider the following story about a CEO and his views on networking. Bryan is the CEO of his fourth technology start-up. He is often approached to join the Young Presidents’ Organization or networking groups for senior executives. Instead, he started a group made up of individuals of all levels in marketing, sales, law and insurance. He also included some entrepreneurs. His theory was that his company’s needs might not always be solved by someone who was his peer but that a cross-section of people in business would bring many good connections and points of view that he might not otherwise be exposed to. This group met monthly for two years and at each meeting every attendee had to talk about what his or her largest challenge was that month. Help often came from the least expected person. If, for example, a company needed a new receptionist, another CEO would never sing the praises of his own receptionist, but a sales person or HR executive just might do so to help their friend, the receptionist, find a better opportunity. Bryan believed that having your network go from top to bottom was more helpful than just knowing those on top. If you're ready to get started networking, read the four steps of networking.

This article was written by: Anne Brown and is a modified excerpt from her book, co-authored by Thom Singer, "Some Assembly Required: A Networking Guide for Graduates" (New Year, 2010)