I am not joking. I will prove it to you why “partying more” will help you with networking. I went to a Deloitte Consulting alumni event last week and had a blast. I met up with so many old friends, had fun, and discussed quite a bit of business at the same time.
I worked for Deloitte for 10 years but still was pleasantly surprised to see I knew half of the alumni at the event. Some are now Senior Managers and Partners at Deloitte and others are senior executives or successful owners of their own business. The funny thing was as I was talking to people and recounting old times, I realized I never worked with 95% of the people I knew. Instead we discussed the good old days of lavish consulting retreats, late night illegal golf cart rides, and dancing up a storm at the annual Christmas parties.
What’s my point? I think how to network well is NOT just about being able to show up to an event and network with strangers about mutual work interests. Much of the networking we can do is actually done informally in social settings and those are the ones that can leave a deeper impression as well as also benefit us in the long run.
Here are three ideas about How to Network by “Partying More”
- Start in School – Those who just study and get good grades in school are missing out. When you go out to parties or do fun activities outside of studies, you develop sound social and interpersonal skills and can forge deeper bonds with people. After we leave school, we leave with three things: 1) an education – a credential hopefully a decent one (e.g. B.S, MBA) 2) friends we made and still keep in touch with 3) acquaintances/alumni we see once in awhile at Alumni events or perhaps in our business field. This is why where you go to school matters – it’s not just the credential but the alumni network that could be invaluable to you in business. 10 to 15 years after school, many of your classmates are in senior positions and could be potential partners, customers, or could hire you for a job. If you were social in school and knew a lot of people, your classmates will remember that and will more likely to take a meeting with you just based on fond, old memories.
- Be Social at Work – Socializing after work hours is not just for fun. You may go to Baseball games, wine tasting, team dinners, but the point is to get to know people on a personal level. If you got to know your boss on a personal level and found something in common, you can more easily build a better relationship as well as communicate better with your boss. Same goes to your team or your CXOs. Work may be work, but people like to work with real people – those that have similar interests and a social, engaging personality.
- Continue to build your own social circles – Don’t just work and then spend time with family and existing friends. Continue to invest time to socialize in your community to expand your network. You never know who you will meet and how they may be a resource in the future. For example, since having a baby, I started a mother’s group in our building 18 months ago. The purpose is for our kids to play together, but I am amazed at the intellectual power of the parents in this group – Senior VCs, Partners at Finance firms, Architects, Lawyers, etc…. We rarely talk about work, but after 18 months, we are becoming close friends through our kids. I didn’t start this group for business purposes but I know I can reach out to this network regarding business if it was ever needed. So ask yourself, what are your interests? Participate or start groups with similar interests, you never know who you can meet while you are having fun.