Is there a word cringy-er than networking?  Does it have to be that way?  Building relationships is essential to modern life and business and we believe most people are inherently good so why does networking feel like such a chore? We asked some very bright folks for their thoughts and have shared their perspectives below.

Sara Abbas | Entrepreneur | Author | Singer | Designer | Consultant

Over the years, many factors have contributed to someone making an outstanding first impression on me. Because relationship capital is vital, I’ve learned to get a better feel for who to connect with early on, and there is one key component that stands out when networking: *How do they treat other people?* Is this person respectful to those whose business may not benefit their own or to those who may be considered their competition? When someone is swift to snub another because they cannot see what’s in it for them or if they are overly competitive, I strongly consider if this is someone with whom I want to associate. Read more>>

Megan Darrough | Artist, Entertainer

There are many interactions that happen when networking – both good and bad. I appreciate the genuine connections made through mutual love of the arts. The kind of networkers I tend to avoid are those who connect to gain something rather than give or appreciate. A good networker is diplomatic and the ones I really wish to connect with are genuine in their approach. A successful network does not just pertain to those who can give job connections, but those who you can keep ties with and help out when beneficial opportunities come up for one another. Read more>>

Shadia Amen | Professional Photographer & Special Needs Nurse Aide

I am all about energy and vibes. I spend a good amount of my first hour of shooting just scanning the room, feeling out the energy of the guests. That way, I can determine my approach, whether simple and serious or comfortable and creative. Events (and event photography) bring about a wide range of personalities. Some guests Love to chat, while others are not even interested in having their picture taken, let alone have a conversation. So I start off with a smile and a little shake of my camera towards them to see if I get a smile or a nod back. Read more>>

Jennine Estes | Marriage and Family Therapist & Owner

I look at networking like I look at therapy – it’s all about the connecting. I started my practice in 2004, so I’ve had a lot of networking experiences. Both bad experiences, and good ones. What makes me want to avoid them: I’ve been in the networking situation where someone is talking to me about their business, but they seem desperate and hungry for a client. When people oversell themselves – they spend a ton of time telling me why I should send clients their way. Any time we think of ourselves as “too good” for something, we close down the opportunity to learn more. Read more>>

Gisele Chalhoub | Event Coordinator & Designer

I like to work with those who share similar values and characteristics as myself. Something that I look for is transparency. It is important that we are on the same page and share the common goal of putting our client first. I would like to connect with those who share excitement and enthusiasm about the creative process to achieve the clients vision. It is important to me to work with vendors that I can see a future with, by doing a good job that enables us to sustain a good reputation. Read more>>

Territa Torres | Women’s Ready To Wear Fashion Designer

When I participate at trade shows, runway shows, popup shops or events I love when people come to my booth, whether it is to look and touch the clothing or to do some lite conversation. I enjoy the fact that I have setup something visually pleasing that caught their attention and it brought them to my area. There is not much a person can do to make me avoid them even when they are rude or short and interrupting me when I am trying to answer their questions. But there is one instance now, that I will be on the look out for and will be avoiding. Read more>>