“I’m writing a book. I’ve got the page numbers done.”
~Steven Wright

I’ve mentioned in a couple of places that I’ve been working on my first book, “Hello and a Handshake”. I thought I would share an excerpt or two here. Today’s entry is “Making Apple Pie” from Chapter 2: The Three Keys to Focused Networking.

Making Apple Pie

Assuming you follow the recommendations from the last chapter, you aren’t the one blocking your path any longer. You have your thoughts in the right place. Now we need to make sure your body is on the right path.

What do I mean by that?

Suppose you want to make a fresh apple pie. You get out your grandma’s recipe — the one that’s been handed down for generations. You’ve got the pie pan, measuring cups, and spoons. You’ve gathered your spices and all the ingredients for the crust. All you need are fresh apples. You hop in your car and drive out to the nearest orchard. You grab your basket and walk out among the trees… and run into a little problem.

It’s a peach orchard.

Unfortunately, even if you pick every peach off every tree, you won’t have enough apples for your pie. Sometimes the nearest orchard just isn’t the right orchard.

People do this in networking all the time.

They show up at a networking event or join a group and try to connect with everyone in sight. At the end they have nothing to show for it because where they are isn’t where they need to be. For them, the whole networking process ends up being a complete waste of time.

In fact, this leads to what is probably the number one question I get about networking events: Where’s the best place to network?

If you knew this you could remove doubts. You’d know the people at the event are the ones you should meet. You wouldn’t be wasting time and money on the gatherings that wouldn’t benefit you. You’d even be able to justify your decision to attend these particular events or join these specific groups. After all, you probably have a boss (or a partner or a spouse) who wants to make sure that the lunch you’re attending will contribute to the bottom line.

The problem is, I can’t tell you the answer.

Oh, it’s not like I have a big secret and I’m holding out on you just to be nasty. What I mean is, the “best” place to network is different for different people and their different goals. To answer the question for you, we need to take a look at the Three Keys to Focused Networking and see how they apply to your practice.