Starting Conversations Differently
Our words have the power to change the world.
Networking feels sleezy. When I use networking in a sentence, I cringe a little bit thinking of all the things I’ve attached to it: tit for tat, transaction, ‘are you worth my time’, what can you give me. Networking is a pejorative term that’s focused on the me. “My network is____.” “I’ll network to a job____.” This method for connecting with people exists because we’ve adopted it as our reality.
An alternative to networking is community building.
Community does not have the negative associations that networking does. That clean slate makes me very excited to embrace it. Community, by its nature, is focused on the collective ‘us’. We are powerful together. We can support each other to get jobs, do life and thrive. The purpose of gathering is centered around what we can do to improve our community. Sometimes its as simple as sitting down and having a chai to lend insights to an experience. Other times, more tangible things.
Long term, I feel that community outweighs networking because the net gain of community is deep relationships and a tightly knit tribe working in a similar mission (Startingbloc: we want to change the world). Alternative, in network ‘you’ the individual may have a robust rolodex, but the people in your network are still disaggregated from each other.
We control reality. We control norms.
I’d like the norm to move networking to community oriented.
I think we can start with the questions we use. Instead of kicking off with “Hi! Good to meet you, I’m Marvin. What do you do for work?” we can instead try:
- “Hi! I’m Marvin. What gets you excited?”
- “Hi! I’m Marvin. What do you dream about?”
- “Hi! I’m Marvin. What’s made you the most happy today?”
There’s a human within all of us. I want to move us to a world where we’re recognizing that human for all that they are. When we recognize the humans around us for all that they are, we help move them towards all that they can be and in that little action we move ourselves ever closer to all that we can be too.