Personal Writing

When networking feels transactional, what’s next?

I’ve been doing a tremendous amount of networking since leaving my previous job in the spring and going full time as the Founder & CEO of Dayna Del Val.

Many of the conversations have been fantastic, but the worst ones, the ones that made me want to give up entirely, are the ones that are purely transactional.

Let me “re-enact” one of those openings for you:

New Person: “Hi. I’m Bill. What can I do for you? Who in my network do you want to meet?”

DDV: “Ummmm, I’m not sure yet.”

New Person: “Well, I have a very robust network, so you look through it and let me know who you’d like to meet. And here’s how you can help me; I’m looking for ______.”

This is obviously abbreviated, although I did have one conversation with a complete stranger whom I had connected to through someone else fairly new to me that did go exactly like this. I was so thrown by it that I couldn’t even articulate sentences. It was mortifying, and I won’t reach back out to that person.

Now, on one hand, this is very generous (and expedient!). This person knows practically nothing about me and is willing to connect me to others.

But on the other hand, if they don’t know anything about me, how are they going to connect me to anyone? And why would they assume I’m worth connecting or that their network is interested in meeting me?

And most importantly, have they really gotten to know me in any meaningful way?

So I’ve come up with a new system I’m calling Sparkworking: Making Relational Connections.

And I was fortunate to try it out late last week with a Women in Networking group I’d been invited to give a talk to.

I thought it would likely have some real benefit because it begins with taking time to think through your Sparks in a few areas that are part of the larger Discover Your Spark first step.

Then, I asked people to pair up with someone they didn’t know and share these new-found Sparks with each other in three minutes.

I believed this would make a difference. Wouldn’t you rather meet someone and hear about their dreams and desires versus their job titles and core responsibilities?

In talking with a friend I met through my concerted networking recently, he noted that he’s meeting so many new people that, try as he might, they are all starting to become one, kind of generic person. He thought Sparkworking might help him differentiate all these people looking for work in a particular area if he knew about their Sparks versus their education and most recent employer.

Rather than tell you that it worked, I’ll just show you this quick video I took of the first round of Sparkworking this group of women engaged in, and you can decide for yourself if you think it had a higher impact than a typical networking event or not.

My question to you is: Who are you really? And how might that help you realize what’s next for you?

Whether that means you want to find a new job, pursue a hobby, pick up a volunteer position, move across the country or _______.

Only you know what truly lights you up from the inside out. Only you can identify your Spark and then find ways to pursue it by sharing it with others.

Don’t wait for a better time. There is no better time than now. The first step is the hardest, but it doesn’t have to be massive. Determine that you’re going to share your Spark with the next new person you meet. Let that be the first step you take. You’ll be amazed at how you feel when it flickers just the tiniest bit.

If you’d like some guidance, reach out to me and we’ll have a conversation. Or check out Spark Start; it’s the perfect program to get going on identifying one (or more) of your Sparks right now.

You can do it; I know you can, and I’m here cheering you on.

Dayna Del Val is on a mission to help others (re)discover the spark they were born with through her blog and newsletter, her professional talks and the (re)Discover Your Spark retreats she leads. Dayna works with people to help them not just identify and articulate their dreams but to develop a framework to get going on the pursuit of those dreams—today, in the next few months and for the years ahead. She's at the intersection of remarkable and so, so ordinary, but she knows that pretty much everyone else is, too. She's excited to be sharing this extraordinary journey with you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *