A friend called this morning. She is exhibiting her beautiful watercolour paintings at the moment and her manager told her to make sure people who needed to see her work, know that its there to be seen. She called me about a future idea, an art project with kids, on HIV Aids. You know all about networking, she said to me. How do I find the potential project partners? I want them to come to my exhibition.
I thought for a couple of seconds and came up with three good people. They may not be the right people, but they will certainly know the right people. Unfortunately two of them are out of town at the moment and the exhibition will close before they return.
I went to my office after the call. My office is a shared space, called The Hub. At any one time twenty people, all of them caring about their work being a contribution to society, are in the space. I walked past a woman who was working on fundraising for work with HIV Aids. In one minute I had the name of the people in her organization my friend could talk to. A minute later my friend had a message on her cellphone with the names of the people.
Networking is about sharing what your needs are, and about being aware that who you know can make a difference.