Have you ever suffered from FOMO? It’s not a strange new illness it’s the Fear of Missing Out. You know the deal. You introduce two friends at a networking event and now they’re off playing tennis or meeting for a coffee—without you—and somewhere inside you it doesn’t feel so good.
Other FOMO experiences you might’ve had could look like these:
- You introduce a friend to a recruiter and she starts telling you about the great job leads she’s getting
- You’re tired of attending yet another trade show and decide to stay back at the office only to see your colleagues posting photos from the CES party
- You introduce two close colleagues and then they end up forming a team for a new project that doesn’t include you
- You get promoted and now you’re no longer onsite managing the day to day and feel left out of the inside jokes and daily activity and find yourself wondering if you should have taken that promotion
- Your close colleague gets transferred to Los Angeles and you introduce her to your local LA network only to hear later through channels that she is the toast of the town and your old group
Occupational FOMO is normal…why wasn’t I invited to that meeting or why did so and so get to travel with the boss instead of me or why does that team look so much more fun than mine? In networking, however, FOMO is not your friend. It really is a giving game and should be approached as such—the more you give, the more you get—there’s enough to go around.
Some people make the mistake of approaching networking like…who am I going to meet that is going to give me what I want, but I suggest by turning that upside down you’ll not only reduce your FOMO anxiety level but you’ll increase your satisfaction and reach. It’s not about keeping score (I introduced you to X so you owe me Y) or worse (X is mine so if I introduce you to X you have to do this). Cultivate a joy for connecting the dots. It’s about creating something much more interesting, surprising and strong by connecting…just like the old childhood game.
- Your willingness to help says more about you as a team member
- It makes you appear confident that you are willing to share
- Your span of influence increases by giving
- Sharing is non-threatening so others will be willing to share too
- Hoarding doesn’t benefit you..it just creates a false sense of security.
Remember—the best connections are sparked and grow or die organically. You cannot control them.