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I just came across an article titled Career Networking Is More Than Just a Quick Sales Job – and I can’t agree more with this headline.

There are so many different ways people define networking. The article reflects my opinion: networking sessions are more than introductions, deeper than group discussions and longer than a 5-minute conversation.

Networking is about developing a real, trusting relationship. If you attend an informational networking meeting, you should walk away with some real, helpful information or action steps. An exchange of ideas and providing help – help that goes both ways (you help them and they help you).

When it comes to networking to find career opportunities, I have always told my Career Coaching clients that every effective informational interview will have at least one or more of these outcomes:

  1. Questions about fit are answered.
  2. You have clear direction on next steps/actions.
  3. You’ve been introduced to a key contacts/decision maker.

If you do not walk away with one or more of these outcomes, all you had was coffee!

Do you agree with my assessment of networking? Would you define it differently?