The best networking advice I've heard to date is from Doug Eboch. In a post on, "How NOT to Network," he advised us to network laterally.
Here's how Doug defines networking laterally:
There are different kinds of networking. What Joe was trying to do I would call “networking up.” In other words, he’s trying to build a relationship with someone more successful than he is. That is a logical way to go but actually not the most useful kind of networking. Tom Cruise networks with Steven Spielberg, I don’t. I don’t have much to offer Spielberg and real networking is a two way street.Perhaps part of my difficulty is that most of the networking success stories focus on networking up: making that critical connection to someone who can give you a break. But if I put on my anthropologist cap and think about what I've observed, the real networks that pay dividends day-in and day-out were formed among peers.
"You’ll get most of your breaks by networking laterally. When I was starting out as a writer the people that helped me the most were the interns at production companies and the assistants to agents and producers. Those people are looking to move up and they do that by discovering great material that nobody else knows about. If my work is good then helping me helps them."
So how do you do it?
In a second post, titled, "How to Network," Doug lays out his rules of networking:
- Nobody is doing you a favor. "If you are talented and your work is good, you have value in the business relationship."
- It’s an ongoing relationship. "When you meet someone the goal should be to build that relationship not to get them to do something for you."
- Nobody is unimportant. "The guy delivering your script could be a major player long before your movie ever gets made." Corollary: "What you need to be looking for is talent and drive."
- Quality is the commodity. "All the charm in the world will not help if you don’t deliver good work."
Deren blogs at The Laws of Making.