It seems an obvious enough sort of thing to realize, but it took me until recently to make the leap from trying to simply network when I go places to trying to make friends. My rational was that I have “too many” friends already that I have a hard time keeping in touch with, why not just focus on business. I figured that now is the time to make my mark professionally, my friendships that already exist are enough. Turns out I was very wrong.
All of you who have had this epiphany are smiling and nodding at my niavete. But it wasn’t until day 2 at SXSWi 07, when I was rushing to the stage to meet one of the great speakers and make sure that they shook my hand and had my business card, that I realized how I was coming off. A little bit pushy, a little over eager, a little distant and kinda amateur. Yay me, eh?
SXSWi 07 was a great place for me to really learn this lesson. I had tons of old contacts that I was seeing for the third, forth and more times. I also had about 5 days to see these contacts and any new ones I was to meet. So I settled into my new quest to make friends. And it was great! I made tons of new contacts and now feel like I have friends to visit in new cities all over the world as well.
With me now on the search for work (projects or positions, now – winkwink nudgenudge) I am guessing new friendships will be more handy than just business cards. Both for leads and support. Gotta go now, emails to my new friends to send… 🙂