Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What does successful networking look like to you?

We hear a lot about the importance of building your network. But in the 21st Century Information Age, what’s more important – your “local” network or your “global” network?

As someone who lives in a smallish town in northern Michigan, I’m definitely going to go with the global network.

For years, I worked at growing my local network. I went to business-after-hours, chamber breakfast meetings, you know the drill. I sat on committees and made chit chat with local dignitaries.

It didn’t get me very far.

But about eight years ago I fell in with the leaders in my field (lifelong learning). It was almost a fluke, but I did get noticed. In a matter of a couple years I went from running a local lifelong learning program to writing for national magazines on lifelong learning to consulting with the world’s largest association on lifelong learning to running the marketing department of the same association. Last year, I traveled all across North America (and Hawaii) making presentations and conducting workshops for the leading lifelong learning program executives in the world.

And not a single golf outing made a difference.

I still go to the occasional “Wild Game Dinner” (in northern Michigan, these kind of events raise a lot of money for local charities), but I have to say, I don’t care if the branch manager at our local bank knows my name. And I don’t care if someone doesn’t think I have a “real” job, because I telecommute.

I’m curious what you all think on this topic. Are you still on the local chamber of commerce circuit?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gen Xers in Retirement

Thanks to my dad for this one.