Let’s be clear: networking is not my strongest skill. Partly because I’ve underestimated the importance of it, at least until now, and partly because I’m relatively shy.
I like people, but I’ve always seen myself more as a listener than a talker, which my friends might disagree with.
I thought networking was mostly about selling yourself and your ideas, a sort of endless pitch market.
Although I’m convinced that it is so to a certain extent, I also think that the best part of networking is the chance to exchange, compare and discover.
Are you competitive? I am. I also believe that in competition as pretty much always in life respect is the key.
In the last couple of months I had the opportunity to talk to many brilliant professionals, from designers, to developers, to product and project managers, asking questions and listening was inspiring. Most of time you look for a confirmation that where you’re going with your job is the right direction, but there are moments when someone say or show something from a different angle, one you’ve never considered before and that’s when I feel I learn the most. It feels like your mind opens up a bit more and it actually adds something to your knowledge.
Networking to me is the mean to increase the chance for those moments. Drastically.
So far, it has worked.
I recently became part of the London Web Standards group, a bunch of pretty amazing people who organises events focusing on mostly web-related topics. I’m enjoying very much my role as co-organiser and I look forwards to see how it evolves and what I learn from this experience.