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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The importance of Networking - Reaching out to others - Inson Dubois Wood

Inson Wood giving a lecture at the Dubai Forum on the eve of the unveiling of the worlds tallest building - Burj Dubai/Kalifa.

Inson Wood and Mayor Michael Bloomberg at the Transportation Alternatives launch party.

I was recently asked to give a talk to a small group of business leaders on the importance of networking.  Networking is not about business as much as it is about friendship, cooperation, and community.  The fundamentals are succinctly summed up in Keith Ferrazzi's insightful book - Never Eat Alone.  Keith Ferrazzi, a Yale undergrad and Harvard MBA became the youngest marketing COO of a fortune 500 company ever.  He specifically emphasizes how important it is to eliminate artificial boundaries between personal and professional relationships. Building on a foundation of intimacy and generosity, you can strengthen all your relationships and build a community that can help you reach your most ambitious goals. Networking is not something you do to get work - networking is a lifestyle. Networking is definitely not a zero sum game. Rather, networking is a win-win situation. It is more about helping others now, who in the future may be in a position to help you. Its about having friends of all walks of life that you can call upon and vice versa - this might be as simple as a short phone conversation to act as a reference. At every level, human to human contact is key in business and in life.  In my industry, as well as most, it's all who you know.  Call your friends to check in on how they are doing, talk about the outcome of a sports event, or passing on some helpful information that shows you are thinking of them and looking out for them.  Sometimes it means taking time out from your busy schedule to volunteer with a charity fund raiser.   The next charitable event you are invited to that seems like a bit of a chore - I suggest you give it a shot and put on your friendly suit and be open to meeting new people.  You never know, you might be able to help them out someday - and perhaps they'll do the same for you or a friend.  Better yet, you might make a few new friends along the way.  The ultimate goal is creating a network of people that are reliable and trustworthy in their field of expertise that you can rely on.  Remember excellece breeds excellence and dependability is invaluable.

Inson Wood and Margaret Russell, Editor and Chief of Architectural Digest.