To be honest, I don’t have a strategy for networking, either online or in person. I find it very uncomfortable, but also very fake. I don’t believe in kissing up to people to get something out of them because that’s just not who I am. A different way that I use that I guess could be considered networking is just building relationships with people. I had the occasion to meet people from all across the country when I was working at the Canada Games. I developed good working relationships and assisted them with their media and communications needs. However, unlike networking, I didn’t go out of my way to make connections with them but rather encountered them through the work I was already doing.
I do not have any current activities or commitments planned in the next 6-12 months to continue the development of my networks. I have already landed my next job, which is a permanent rather than contract role, so I don’t anticipate leaving that company anytime soon. However, I would like to keep in occasional contact with my former coworkers to see where they go, but also in case I would need their contact in the future.
Networking is often times seen to be something like “schmoozing” or “kissing up” but from what I have gathered through my time in business is that regardless of how much you do this, there is still going to be people that don’t like you. I agree that often there is a few that the intention of networking is to “get something out of them” but you may find it to be easier if you instead treated as showing up to every conversation with your best suit on. This is obviously a metaphor but the purpose of it is to explain that networking is the most genuine and useful when it is used to almost market yourself in the best possible way. We all have a relaxed version of ourselves that is shown around those close to us, networking is when you show the most confident and admirable parts instead. Doing this will make it seem less phoney and foster long term connections like those of the coworkers you mentioned.