I recently saw this article (The Case of the Pushy Lady by Liz Ryan) headlining my yahoo homepage and must admit that I was a bit disappointed when I read it. I suppose it isn't anyone's fault but my own - the headline said something about "Networking No-Nos", it was silly of me to expect the how-to guide that I continue to seek when it comes to the skill of networking... The article pointed out some of the things I have grappled with in other posts here on Ms. JD - the problem of being too pushy in our networking endeavors, but it left me with more confusion about that elusive line between pushy and positive self promotion - and less answers about how to effectively network without crossing the line. Granted, the anecdotes in the article did seem a bit pushy... but how could they have approached the author in a manner that would have bettered the outcome? You introduce yourself to another person, but then what? Should you engage in meaningless small talk until you've reached some sort of comfort level that makes it suddenly ok to ask for favors? Something more? Do you foster a friendship? How well do you have to know a person before it is ok to utilize them as a networking contact? The author spoke of a sense of quid pro quo, and this makes perfect sense to me - but I do think that if you are attending networking events or participating in networking websites, you are putting yourself out there in a way that it may be prudent of you to give when kindly asked - and simply hope that the favor is returned someday. The author indicated that she is happy to help people and receive nothing in return - but she mentioned this in reference to individuals that she has ongoing correspondence with. Now I am wondering what that correspondence looks like... I suspect it might be full of casual small talk or perhaps the type of quick hello one expects from a friend? I'm not sure... So here I am again, wondering what is good-pushy vs. bad-pushy and I'm just not sure what to do with that. Perhaps I will simply have to make mistakes as I test the waters and hope that those mistakes aren't crippling.
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