Network Like a Man

One of my favorite blogs recently has been The Art of Manliness. It’s not a boneheaded celebration of dumb machismo, rather a thoughtful exploration of what being a man can and should mean in a post-feminist world. With values anchored in equality, the writers explore everything from employment and relationships to parenting, grooming and etiquette.

Last month, in response to the deepening recession, one contributor wrote “How To Network Like A Man.” It’s a great essay on networking, oriented around the story of a man losing his job and immediately putting to work his network of professional relationships to find new work. The advice in the essay isn’t gender-specific, and applies pretty broadly to almost anyone in a professional context — for web workers, good networking skills are even more valuable than understanding CSS or Photoshop inside out.

Here are some of the key points to take away from the piece:

  1. Develop a networker’s mentality — being communicative, reciprocal and thinking of yourself as a”business owner” can help place you in the correct frame of mind for networking effectively.
  2. Know Your Networking Tools – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and blogging are all name-checked as being part of the portfolio of digital tools necessary to actively network and maintain a significant public profile. (MySpace looks a little out of place there to me.) The article also provides a few tips on business cards, resumes, phone etiquette and the age-old handshake.
  3. Look like a professional — the writer notes that appropriate professionalism with headshots, email signatures and documents can all help to brand yourself appropriately, and goes on to suggest a few dress codes for different personas and even times of day.

Some of the best networking advice I’ve read recently comes from Guy Kawasaki in a post called “The Art of Schmoozing.” He suggests that the essence of networking is “establishing relationships before you need them” and “discovering what you can do for someone else.” Kawasaki’s advice is really about altruism and generosity of time.

Share your networking tips in the comments.