On January 26th, 2021, Kelly Schrank, an Associate Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication (STC) and a technical writer and editor with over 20 years of experience in different industries, presented the “Engineering Your Networking Experience” webinar for STC. The purpose of the webinar was to describe how to network effectively and to present tips for people with introverted personalities to connect with other people at networking events.
To introduce the webinar, Schrank made an analogy suggesting that people should think about networking the same way they think about their jobs. People often face challenges at work that make it unlikely that they would consistently enjoy their jobs every day. Similarly, most people do not always enjoy networking; however, just as people stick to a job because of pay, benefits, opportunities to gain experience, job satisfaction, and other reasons, they network to reap its benefits.
Schrank quoted the Dictionary.com definition of networking: “a supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest” (Dictionary.com, n.d.). People network to build relationships, to learn from other people they meet, and to share ideas. What is important to remember is that networking is not transactional, and to succeed at it, attendees must be relational with each other and not use each other as a means to an end. For example, simply asking a stranger for a job would be detrimental to building a relationship with that person.