Networking Personality

Talking about perceptions, my students just stunned me.

“We were discussing networking in another class,” they shared, “and when we had to think of somebody who has a personality that is perfectly suited for networking, we thought of you!”

“What?” I asked.

“You are the definition of a networker!” they insisted.

“What?” I could only ask.

So I probably have to take my most recent post back. The last thing I could have ever guessed I was projecting was a networking personality. There is not a single person in this world who detests networking as much as I do. The word itself makes me shudder.

But that’s the image I project, apparently.

Oy vey.

13 thoughts on “Networking Personality

  1. I think they meant to say that you appear outgoing. I wish that were enough to be a natural at networking, but it’s generally not…

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  2. “There is not a single person in this world who detests networking as much as I do. The word itself makes me shudder.”

    Apparently we have this in common too.

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  3. Well, I do remember thinking when I read your post about how much you hate networking that the person you described wasn’t doing it very well. She stopped talking to you the moment it looked like you wouldn’t be useful to her, thus pissing you off and ensuring that you wouldn’t help her in the future.
    Maybe you’re good at networking because you genuinely like the people you are networking with, and thus don’t think of it as networking.

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    1. When I’m, say, at a conference, I’d honestly rather have my teeth drilled than approach somebody and start a conversation. It somehow feels very intrusive and humiliating. I always fear that people won’t notice me and I’ll feel like I did when I first went to school.

      And then take LinkedIn. Thank God in heaven I don’t need it for my work because just thinking about it traumatizes me.

      The funny thing is that one kind of networking I always loved was approaching guys I wanted to meet.

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      1. I went–begrudgingly–to a “mixer” for female physics majors. The department head said it would be a great time to “network.” I ended up having what was probably the only genuine conversation in the room with my lab instructor, who only came for the free food. πŸ™‚

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      2. I’m fascinated by that, Clarissa. Why was approaching guys so much easier for you? What would you say? Would you just be your regular self, or would you adopt a more confident, outgoing persona? If this needs to be expanded into its own post, so be it πŸ™‚

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  4. In your introductory classes, the students have to make small talk with people they don’t know well. This is exactly the sort of thing you hate.
    How did you do it when you were first learning languages in school?
    Why does it feel comfortable for you to talk to strangers when you are teaching but not when you are in other situations?

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    1. “How did you do it when you were first learning languages in school”

      – Not only that, but in literature courses up to 60% of the final grade depended on in class participation. When I realized that, I thought I would die. I was so painfully shy that I couldn’t buy a cup of coffee at a coffee-shop. The idea of speaking in front of an entire classroom in a foreign language was horrifying. It took a lot of hard work but within a year I was a different person and the most active class participator. πŸ™‚ It had to be done because I wanted this career more than anything in the world.

      “Why does it feel comfortable for you to talk to strangers when you are teaching but not when you are in other situations?”

      – The hierarchy. Everybody has a strictly defined role. Everybody is supposed to shut up when I speak. πŸ™‚ I’m the center of attention and the maximum authority in the room. Sheesh, this is precisely why I always found it so easy to meet men, I guess. πŸ™‚

      “In your introductory classes, the students have to make small talk with people they don’t know well. ”

      – Not really. I always give them an exact list of questions or guidelines they have to follow. Nobody needs to improvise until we are well into the semester and everybody knows everybody else.

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      1. “The hierarchy. Everybody has a strictly defined role. Everybody is supposed to shut up when I speak. πŸ™‚ I’m the center of attention and the maximum authority in the room. Sheesh, this is precisely why I always found it so easy to meet men, I guess. :-)”

        I hate first names. When a professor tells the class to call them by their first name, I get confused and don’t know what to call them. It’s also what’s made it easier to talk to teachers and professors rather than relatives and people my own age.

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  5. Actually, I think your students are right. You might not like the traditional, face to face, real world methods of networking, but in fact, you are an excellent networker. You use your blog to promote others whose writing you enjoy or to enlighten your readers with what you think is important. You are open and a very effective communicator. You use social media to great effect. Look at how many readers you have drawn into your virtual social circle. You connect people, albeit perhaps passively, but still, you are connecting with others, and introducing them to each other. I would say your students are spot on.

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