We all hear about the importance of networking, but how do you measure the strength of your networking skills? Take this quiz and find out.
For each item, give yourself a score between 1 and 5, with 1 meaning "definitely false" and 5 meaning "definitely true":
1. When I attend conferences or seminars, I like to go with friends from my workplace.
2. When I see someone I know quoted in the press, I make a point of calling to "touch base."
3. I don't keep in touch with most of the people I knew in school.
4. When I hear an interesting idea, I make a note of who told me, so I'll know who to contact if I need more information on the subject.
5. I feel my industry is so specialized that I don't have much to share with people who work in other industries.
6. Every time I meet someone new, I view the conversation as an opportunity for me to learn something.
7. I feel uncomfortable in settings where other people are more professionally accomplished than I am.
8. When I meet people in professional settings, I introduce myself by quickly describing my job and business; I don't wait to be asked "What do you do?"
9. I don't typically talk about work outside of work—at church, with my neighbors, and so on.
10. I'm always willing to offer advice or do favors for people I've met; my door is always open.
What do your scores mean?
Add up your scores for the even-numbered items, and then subtract from it the total of your scores for the odd-numbered items. Your score will be between -20 and +20.
If you scored above 10, congratulations! You probably have such good networking skills that others rely on you to help them make their own connections.
If you scored between 0 and 10, you should take a good look at your responses to see if there are any blind spots in your current approach. For example, you might be good at building relationships within your enterprise, but not with people outside it.
If you scored below zero, you definitely need to work on your networking skills. Consider these tips:
- Everyone you know, whether in or out of the workplace, is a potential asset to your personal network. Don't be too quick to segregate your work and personal lives.
- Not every member of your network needs to be a close personal friend. Allow casual acquaintances the opportunity to teach and inspire you.
- Networking needs to be reciprocal. If you aren't willing to offer your insights and influence to help others, they won't be likely to do the same for you.