In the series of actions I find key for addressing my constant wish to learn and have a rich professional life, I have been trying to keep an always ongoing activity which is about “meeting humans”. Working in tech is great, being productive is great, but having a drink with smart people is even cooler. And, going further, having a passionate discussion with someone you don’t know yet, sharing vision and skills, is gold. Among other additional things, I am encouraging women to do so, because this is a smooth way to learn a lot.
It has been several years that I am now canvassing locally, entering different networks, keeping contacts, attending after work sessions. This is not only because I have decided to test my resistance to alcohol. This is because I believe the people I meet there, help me to grow up and they can benefit from my own experience.
So what do I mean by cool networking ? I am not talking about networking for selling product and services. I am talking about something that would happen in addition to your normal work. A networking where your income does not rely on. A networking where you do not expect anything – yet, except enjoying sharing. This is what I call “cool networking”. There are different criteria that I have experienced, that do work quite well for that expectation.
Spirit. I have decided to invest my time in networks which I have respect for and no fear. I mean, leveraging values I appreciate, because there is nothing like having a conversation with people with whom you have some common important values. My criteria are collaborative, openness, and direct talks. You might have yours, this is just an example.
Location. Taking care of a network means being there, not just *thinking* about it. And to be pragmatic, for cost and time reasons, you should go local. Meetup, association, forum, specific events. Try all of these. And if there is no network around you, just create it ! There are always means to identify people in your location that seems to be creative and dynamic (I use Twitter a lot for that). Find them and just get organized !
Freedom. Entering a tribe is good if you don’t have to report every other morning why you were not here at the last meeting, and why is that you did not prepare a tomato tart for the recent joint dinner. Cool networking – as I suggest to maintain – is about being comfortable with others, and not being judged. So participating whenever I can, and just keeping track of the community remotely when I really can’t be there is what I call cool networking.
Gap. I want to meet people from whom I can learn something. Meeting people with the same-job-same-age-same-book-reading would be interesting, but not enough maybe that I spend an evening with this tribe rather then being with my friends and family.
In the end, my top list of tribes I belong to at the moment are Girls In Tech Marseille and #LittleFrenchTech, I am also ‘god-mothering’ for girls belonging to Duchess France, as I think it is a cool idea. All of this is taking few evening a month, but it is worth doing, as I met some fantastic people around it. Some are friends, now, some can help me in my job, some others I help … This has definitely enriched my social life.
It’s your turn now to experience cool networking and see how it goes…