Networking is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

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Being a busy professional, you are in the habit of grabbing a quick something from one of the neighborhood food vendors before heading off to work.

The food is pretty good, hygienic and the vendor is known to be honest in his dealings.

But deep down, you get a feeling that he does not look at you as a particularly valued customer and has exhibited no inclination to forming a long-lasting relationship with you.

Every day, you acknowledge each other with a curt nod. You are offered a courteous service, but you feel real warmth is lacking. You suspect you are just another face in the crowd for him.

You are not averse to the idea of shifting your loyalties to another vendor but disinclined to do so because in your heart you know the current one is as good as it gets.

Are you justified in making assumptions about the guy based on your brief interactions with him?

Did you realize the crux of the problem is time, a commodity which seems to be in short supply all the time?

What’s stopping you from getting up close and personal?

  • From your perspective, the return on investment from the relationship, is rather low.
  • How about the vendor?  The perceived apathy could well be the result of a lack of reciprocation and refusal to engage from your end.

At this stage, your relationship is ad hoc, and is low on commitment, at least from your end. Are you willing to give the relationship a second chance?

Could your relationship with the vendor be better?

  • It could, provided you are willing to commit more time to engage with him. Getting off the bed 30-45 minutes earlier than usual could give you that extra time needed to chat up the guy. Start by inquiring after his old parents or his school-going children.

Would more interaction with the vendor do the trick?

  • It is reasonable to assume that the vendor would be more favourably inclined towards you with better engagement, better commitment and better display of empathy. Being a part of  service industry, he would know the importance of nurturing long-term relationships. As for you, your reward is a chance to have a reliable friend in your network.

When it comes to building your network, you need to invest in time.

Running a sprint may not be the ideal approach to creating meaningful relationships.

It’s more like running a marathon. A marathon provides you with an opportunity to run the long and grueling race and a chance to meet like-minded people during the course of the run.

It’s a true test of your endurance and commitment to the nurturing of a relationship in the long term.

People who experience the despair and joys with you during the course of the marathon are the people whom you can trust with your life.

And finally, no person is insignificant to be considered for being a part of your network, if they have the right attitude and possess the right qualities.

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