Johnson Cook

Atlanta tech investor. Entrepreneur.

Johnson Cook - Atlanta tech investor. Entrepreneur.

My Response to Knuckleheads on the Topic of Networking

Meeting New People

For the past 6-months I’ve been averaging 3 to 4 new relationships in the Atlanta business community each week.

Four has become my minimum goal.  It’s an easy one. I attend regular events like Chamber events, EO events, Local Conferences, Church eventsVenture Atlanta, Startup Lounge, ATDC, TAG, GA Tech events, Football games, even Cub Scout events with other moms and dads, Fundraisers are good too.       That’s where the Top of the Funnel happens.

At these events, the “meeting four people” goal can usually be knocked out in a single night. However, I don’t stop at just meeting people, I want to get to know them. I count any extended conversation (20 minutes or more) as getting to know someone.  Often I meet them over lunch, or coffee or a beer-thirty get together, but many times I also spend quality time on the phone with new people (so long as we’ve both blocked out at least 60 minutes to chat, I consider this a quality interaction).

In response to my post called How to Get Lucky, several friends told me “JC, you are just good at networking, but many people just aren’t that good or they simply don’t like doing it.

I understand this totally.

Yep. Because I used to say the same thing about running. About swimming. About working out in general.  I’m just not that good at it. I’m not athletic. I don’t really need to lose weight. It’s not enjoyable. It’s not my thing.

But I’m telling you, dude: meeting new people isn’t just a crazy extrovert thing to do, but it is a principle that helps us become better as human beings just as much as exercise does. We are now moving from the Industrial Age where putting your head down and working harder and longer paid off … to the Connected Age where your relationships define you now even more than they have in the past. Our society is maturing beyond Independence as the quality that helps us succeed to Interdependence, where we realize how much we can help or hurt each other because what we do really does affect other people.

So if you are one of those knuckleheads (you know who you are, K!) that say “I hate networking.” Then just think about One Foot in Front of the Other, and find an easy way to just sit down with one new person. Just one a week. Or one a month!    I promise you it’s not as bad in real life as it is in your head, and I promise you that nothing but good will come from you knowing more people. Relax. People are people. You didn’t die when you ran that half marathon that you swore wasn’t possible. (Although, you did come pretty close from the video I saw. hehe.)     You won’t die when you start working on a habit that will build a better network for your future either.

Yes, I’m going to remain stubborn on this point!


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