Horizontal Networking: What Did Issa Rae Mean By "Networking Across?"
“When I meet Magic Johnson,” “When I meet Oprah,” “When I meet Jeff Bezos.” Have you ever said one of these phrases attempting to manifest a well-known celebrity or investors that can fund your dream? While you could meet a heavy hitter one day, share your 30-second pitch, and they give you a million dollars for your business...those chances are small. We’ve all been there, looking up to the greats, when we should look left and right.
"Effective networking starts with the people around you, not above you."
The acclaimed creator of the HBO series ‘Insecure,’ Issa Rae, made a statement in 2017 saying, “We tend to network up when we really should be networking across.” And we couldn’t agree more. Here are two tips to do just that.
First, grab our Networking Notebook. The notebook is strategically crafted with prompts to help organize your million-dollar ideas, events, and contacts. The contact list will help you figure out who can help you reach your goals. Write down a list of former classmates, coworkers, and even neighbors. From that list describe their profession, industry, and business.
For example, if you have an emerging cleaning business, do you know people who are operation managers that could pitch your services to their company or a new mom needing help easing the load around the house? Maybe you are an event planner; you can create a series of events with entrepreneurs in your city for a weekend pop-up shop. The partnerships are endless once you start reaching next to you rather than upwards.
Second, reach out to your circle of friends you listed. It can be a little intimidating to share your big ideas, but it will be worth it. All you need is one yes. Remember, at first, they laugh, but once you push forward, they will ask you how you did it. In your, Networking Notebook keep track of conversations you have with friends, jot down their goals, expertise, and daily tasks. Then when approaching your associates, use the information you’ve collected to share how the partnership can benefit both parties equally. People are more willing to give you the green light when it is a ‘scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours' situation.
You’ve heard the saying ‘the grass is greener where you water it.' So often, we fantasize about another’s position; however we should focus on the greatness in our current position. So while it is tempting to reach out to the individual who is dominating the industry, be on the lookout for those building just like you.