Some incredible figures
When it comes to work-related recommendations, nothing beats personal contacts. Yes, it is good to make connections online, but in my experience, personal meetings are even more effective. I first learned about this many years ago, when I attended a talk by Sabine Asgodom, who is a well known book author and coach in Germany. She presented the audience with these figures:
In the beginning, I could hardly believe it, but the more I got into networking myself, the more I actually understood that this was not exaggerated. Of course, the 10 % achievements are still vital, but never underestimate the power of networking.
When I think of all the contacts I have made over the years, the opportunities that have come up and frelance jobs that I was able to do just because someone recommended me for something, I can definitely confirm these figures from my own experience.
Is it ethical?
Sometimes I meet people who have moral doubts about networking, they apologize for taking opportunities through contacts and believe they should have achieved everything in a “better” way. Don’t feel guilty, this is how most opportunities come up for everyone else as well, you were just not aware of it.
Those who have doubts are usually thinking of some kind of corruption and taking advantage of others, but this is not networking.
A book with networking advice
Now let’s talk about how to proceed when you are approaching someone you would like to network with. I would definitely think first what you have to give them and only afterwards what they may have to give you.
The book Give and Take gives valuable information and networking advice. And author Adam Grant is also providing a strategy to make sure others are not walking all over you after you have been generous first.
Useful organizations for authors and translators
Joining relevant organizations can make networking easier and I have tried out a numer of them. I am a member of the Society of Authors in the UK, because I find their legal advice and networking opportunities are just what I need – and they give legal advice to both translators and authors.
You can nowadays even join as a self-published author, if you have sold a certain number of books – just check out their eligibility criteria. And they have a network for emerging translators as well.
As a self-published author or someone who would like to beome one, you might also like to join the Alliance of Independent Authors.
Male and female networks
Networks have a long tradition and in the past they were often known as “old boys” networks, which excluded women and therefore women founded their own networks, for example Women in Publishing or Women in Journalism in the UK. A while ago, a man said to me: “It’s not fair, I want a network like this for men as well.” My answer was easy: nobody prevents you from setting up your own “new boys” network. 😉
You can argue whether female networks are still necessary today – theoretically women and men should now be equal, at least where I live. Conditions have definitely improved for women, but we are not quite there yet.
I believe we still need women only organizations, especially with the current influx of refugees in Europe. Although I am very much in favour of supporting refugees, I feel strongly about not going backwards, as they are usually from countries where females have far fewer rights than in our part of the world. In my opinion, women’s organizations can make a positive impact.
Related article on a female network: Happy Birthday, Buecherfrauen!