service that most members seem to want is more networking, at least
according to the results of two recent surveys by AAPG and the DPA.
of the volatility within our industry, networking is increasingly
important. Indeed, in my last column, I pointed out that networking
is the one and only tool that can help you find your next opportunity,
whether it be a job or a deal.
the survey results, I have been wondering how to provide our members
"more networking." The simple fact is that establishing and building
your network is up to you; we can only provide opportunities for
you to network.
a number of the comments in the surveys and discussions with numerous
colleagues, it is apparent that a fair number of members do not
seem to know how to go about building a network. So what follows
is a primer in the Zen of building a network.
defines a network as a system of interconnected individuals. So,
the first, and perhaps most important step, is to determine the
goal of your network. This will determine what group of individuals
you need to connect with.
want to be recognized as a technical expert in your field, or do
you want to lay the foundation for finding your next job or to becoming
Or do you
Step 1: Set
your networking goal.
Once you know what
group of individuals you need to connect with, look for ways to
Step 2: Become
familiar with those in the professional community who can best
help you achieve your goal.
As you become familiar
with the group of individuals you want to connect with, look for
ways to establish your own reputation within the group.
Step 3: Become
active with the professional group that best helps you achieve
As you establish your
reputation, begin to take on more responsibility. If you want
your network to include those members that represent the best
of the best, then you should look to join a committee within the
Division of Professional Affairs -- the "A Team" of AAPG. DPA
membership is roughly 10 percent that of the association, yet
over the last decade DPA members filled almost 60 percent of the
leadership positions in AAPG.
Step 4: Become
a leader among the professional group that best helps you achieve
By this point you
should have successfully established a relatively strong network.
You should now seek to broaden your sphere of influence and begin
developing related networks.
Step 5: Become familiar
with professionals who have interests related to yours.
As you can see, the
cycle repeats here, only at a higher plane. You'll find this is
somewhat like seeking enlightenment: As you move to a continuously
higher plane, you will find increasing contentment and satisfaction
(although no one will admit to that).
the analogy, just as enlightenment comes only to those who work
hard to seek it, so too does a network become established only for
those who take the effort to build it.
take several years to build just the foundation for your network,
and to do so, you may have to be willing on occasion to use your
vacation time, and your own money.
as with the journey to enlightenment, you will find that the journey,
in and of itself, is rewarding.
close with a few questions:
you started establishing your network? If not, why not?
you want the "A Team" to be part of your network? If not, why
so, are you certified? If not, why not?
time to become certified. It is an important step on your journey
toward building your network.