What is networking?

Post 1 in a series about connections

I thought the best way to start a series on connections would be sharing a conversation I had with grandpa.

Grandpa was a great connector.

I believe we’ve made it too complicated. So did he.

Generate good-will because you want to help

Grandpa almost always greeted me by saying: Have you generated any good-will recently?

He asked it so often that it became ingrained in my thinking.

It also meant I always needed to have a response of: Yes, I’ve…

His response would be: Well if you’ve generated some good-will then it will come together for you.

Understand what you’re passionate about and how you can assist

Grandpa was a lawyer by trade. He was passionate about it. He was even more passionate about the arts and knew he could use his skills as a lawyer and passion for the arts to help. In turn his experience with arts organisations helped his business as a lawyer.

Know what is work to you and know when to offer it for free

When grandpa did property law, it was work (that doesn’t mean he didn’t enjoy it). When it was using his skills in the arts it wasn’t. I’m not saying that all property work was charged, he had pro-bono clients. However, when it came to the arts he didn’t charge, he received rewards in other ways, which were sometimes just pleasure.

Communicate

As Kim Williams said at a celebration of grandpa’s life:

I’ve been a periodic recipient of thoughtful letters from him. Some of them unusually long in that beautiful copper plate hand writing of his… At times they were welcome; and others caused me to pause and reflect with considerable care in response to their striking observations which I can assure you were rendered with disarming candor. I am sure that many others have receive similar precious communications with the sort of direct observations which we all too rarely experience in the course of life.

The key aspects to what Kim said about letters from grandpa (he was pre-internet in terms of communication) was that we ‘all too rarely experience’ it and that they had ‘striking observations’. More importantly they were received by enough people that when Kim told the story there was fond laughter from the audience.

Grandpa, sat down to write letters to people on a regular basis. To touch base or share his views… he communicated and that created a great connection to a broad range of people.

He didn’t see it as networking. It was just the right way to live. He didn’t understand the term networking because it was just good practice.

7 Responses

  1. James Fridley Feb 14, 2011 - Reply

    Kate, that is a really insightful post. You were lucky to have such a great role model.

  2. James Fridley Feb 14, 2011 - Reply

    Kate, that is a really insightful post. You were lucky to have such a great role model.

  3. Mary Jo Mar 02, 2011 - Reply

    Having also been one of the fortunate recipient’s of Ken’s wisdom and illuminating letters, I concur wholeheartedly with Kate’s summary above. Taking the time and courage to share insights is the best sort of networking – far superior to collecting business cards like postage stamps.

  4. Chris Wainwright Mar 21, 2011 - Reply

    From my memories of spending a week with Ken at the 2004 MICMC, I completely concur and appreciated his great warmth and love of life, it was a pleasure to be able to share and discuss chamber music with such a great lover of the art form

  5. Kate Tribe Mar 21, 2011 - Reply

    Thanks Chris! It is quite fun putting conversations with him into cartoon movies. So there will be more in the future.

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