You already know that networking is key to a career in project management but you can never tell when this might help solve someone else’s problems.
The tea shop was closing in a few hours. Not just closing for the day, closing for good. I was one of many who had turned out for the final afternoon of trading. The tea sommelier was an acquaintance from the writing world. Until then we had no idea the other was into tea so we spent some time getting to know each other in a new light.
He was gutted the shop was closing. Being a tea sommelier is a good job, particularly if you’ve decided to go back to university to study horticulture and you need a nice job with decent hours and no drunk or demanding people. Tea shop customers are not drunk or demanding. Besides which, he loved tea.
A few days later on my tea trek around Melbourne I met another acquaintance, someone who’d been a voice at the end of the phone and a email address but whom I’d never met in person. She owned a tea shop and was looking to reduce her hours. Do you know anyone..? Actually, I do.
All my life I’d largely used networking for myself, to find someone to be interviewed or to secure my next job, which is not to say that when I met people I thought of them in terms of their usefulness to me but I did tend to forget that I could be of use to them. What I have taken a long time to realise is that the more connections I make, the more help I might be to someone else trying to solve a problem, whether that’s another journalist looking for a source or a tea shop looking for a tea sommelier.
As a project manager you may already know the value of networking to find someone to join your team or to secure your next project, but one of the many things project managers do is solve problems. ‘Who you know’ can solve a problem for two people but we are rarely active about helping people like this if it’s out of our immediate attention.
How do you use your network?