What CIOs Need To Know About (Social) Networking

CIOs know a lot about networks. Well, that all depends on which kind of network you’re considering. When it comes to social networks, they face a considerable learning curve (at least, that’s been the general consensus). In his blog, The Accidental Successful CIO, Dr. Jim Anderson gives a few pointers for that big event or mixer. Spoiler alert – networking is more than just exchanging business cards.

The Goal of Networking

What is the goal of networking, you may ask? Succinctly, Anderson says it’s about connecting with people – not simply meeting them, engaging in idle chit chat, or moving through the ritual formalities. The key is to engage people in a meaningful way that leaves you with an impression of who they are and what they are trying to achieve.

The Story Behind the Person

What all this deep engagement boils down to is discovering the story behind the person. People’s lives revolve around stories, and additionally, we’re hardwired as social creatures to remember the stories of others. But to get to that level, there are some key requirements that must be heeded.

Requirement #1:

Express interest. Ask them meaningful questions about their work (past, present, or future), their education, or their hometown/state/country. Don’t get too personal too quick and don’t ask questions that are irrelevant or that require complicated answers.

Requirement #2:

Know when not to network. Just because you’re a fancy schmancy CIO doesn’t mean everyone will want to know about what you do. All it takes is a little attention to detail:

When you are in a conversation with someone, you need to pay careful attention to them. What you are looking for are signs that the conversation is over. If you can detect these, then you’ll need to wrap things up.

These are job skills that simply can’t be taught in a classroom. The only way to learn is to get out there, as frequently as possible, and start to engage with real people. The more you connect, the better the networker you’ll become.

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