The reason developers, and many non-business people, hate networking because the terms is largely misunderstand and misused!
Somehow networking has the sound of being a calculated, cunning persuasion of getting people do what you want them to do (somehow implied that this is the opposite of what they want to do). This is, however, totally wrong.
I wish we could find another term for networking. Something that indicates that is essentially just means; being friendly, talking to people you meet, make the effort to get to know people a little, and when trust naturally builds, it then brings on a natural inclination to help each other.
People who think that bragging at conferences, talking to big shots at a cocktail parties or being connected on influential strangers on social networks is networking have completely misunderstood the concept. Networking is about trust and mutual understanding. After all, you have no inclination to help someone out you dont know or dont like….
I think the reason developers hate networking is because they think they have to entertain hot shots they have nothing in common with with witty oneliner or deep business insights. Of course that feels impossible! Anyone would be intimidated by that. What you actually have to do is just to create relations with people once or twice removed from your current circles. Create relations with people with whom you have something in common. Not nearly as scary.
- Talk to people where you can create an actual rapport. So people you have something in common with or you are interested in. Dont talk to people simply because they are important.
- Try to help people around you. (this is essentially the whole point of networking). Referring someone who needs a babysitter, spending 15 minutes explaining a piece of software to a colleague etc. Give a little bit where you can. It can be anything.
- Make an effort getting to know the people around you a little better. As you make friends it may turn out you would like to help each other.
- Keep in touch (shocking how crap people are at this). Make sure you add people on social networks after meeting them, and then send a quick message every now and then when it makes sense (like, I am in London this week, lmk if you have time for a coffee. Or, saw you launched the new version, looks cool)
- Understand it works like karma. You dont get it back from the people you give it to. I.e. the more you help, the more people will help you. But generally not the same people. And not at the same time.
I will bet you that if you follow these simple rules you can double the joy and help you get from your network by the end of the year. As long as you remember that networking is a nice thing. It is about helping each other!
Some people who understand the anatomy of positive networking perfectly:
@PaulaMarttila Swedish/Finish queen of contacts
@arican Ari Wegter, Entrepreneur. Founder of Lovefilm
@saxberg Natasha Friis Saxberg. Entrepreneur
@svenningsen Kenneth Svenningsen. Investor/ tech product guy
@hulthin. Kasper Hulthin. Podio
Most VC’s I know are excellent netoworkers