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I have often said that I have some of my best ideas when I am talking with others. This seemed to be in effect this week when I was involved in the online Twitter chat #careerchat. As part of the conversation about networking I said,
“Sometimes we overthink networking, too. Engaging with people is simply/or should be, part of your life. #careerchat”
For whatever reason, this message resonated with many people in the chat and beyond. I was re-tweeted many times and it got me thinking about not only networking, but the host of other tasks we over complicate in our lives.
The fact is, we often make simple things complicated in our lives. During my college career, I was required to take a course, several actually, in Interpersonal Communications i.e. talking to one another. It sought to apply psychological science to the very human act of conversation. We even had these exercises called “dyadic encounters” where we had to converse with a student partner and notice all sorts of things about the conversation, beyond what was actually discussed.
Now sure, there is some benefit to studying things scientifically, but we can easily take this to ludicrous extremes. We can spend so much time analyzing something that we begin to ignore the very reason why we were doing it in the first place. This is certainly true with networking. I see people worry so much about connecting with X number of people or, even worse, X number of the “right” people that they ignore, if not offend those around them. For them, networking quickly becomes a game of numbers rather than a process of growth.
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