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Why I network: feedback from survey respondents on why they choose to meet with new people

Part 2 of a 2 part series. To read part 1 click here!

I designed a 14-question survey aimed at those who often receive proactive networking requests. 116 people completed the survey in June 2018.  82% identified as being in their mid or late career stage, 58% managed a team of people and 34% were at the Director or Executive level.

We asked respondents “Why do you choose to give your time to network with someone new?”

  • 89% said Its important for me to give back and help others in their career
  • 59% said I tend to gain knowledge and insight from meeting with new people
  • 52% said I enjoy meeting with new people
  • 41% said I am always sourcing talent for future opportunities – either on my team or to refer to others

It’s important to keep these reasons in mind when we rev up the courage to reach out to someone new or are nervously waiting in the coffee shop for our new contact to arrive. As you can see, the person you are networking with will likely be getting something valuable out of the meeting as well.

Here’s a sampling of the actual comments respondents shared, in order to illustrate the positive motivations people have when lending their time and perspectives to others:

“As a favour to the people who ask me to do it, who I may want to ask a favour of in the future”

“I know what it’s like to be struggling to get a foothold.”

“If I think I can help, I choose to meet.”

“If someone is willing to learn, I’m willing to teach. My little contribution will come back in some way to help make my own workplaces better.”

“In my career, I’ve had people be very generous in their time, insights and network. I feel it important to pay it forward.”

“It’s a really small world and you never know where that other person might end up that may help you later.”

“It’s an ego boost for someone to seek your advice!”

“Many did it for me. I believe in paying forward”

“Useful things often come out of unexpected conversations.”

This article was written by Gaby Fisch. Gaby Fisch is a trained coach and Director of Talent Development at the MaRS Discovery District, Canada’s largest innovation hub. She spent 12 years in the corporate sector before heading out to work independently as a career, entrepreneur, and executive coach. In 2014, Gaby joined the HR team at the Mars Discovery District, a role which perfectly blends her interests in HR, coaching, business, and social impact. 


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