[09.02.10]
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Successful Career Networking: Being Good With Names

smiling, happy, contented, cows, career networking, job searchSometimes things come full circle. Silly things.

I started my career with Carnation Company. In a marketing management training program. Carnation owned a lot of brands in pet care, baking and other categories. But the brand was best known for Instant Breakfast, Coffee-Mate Creamer and Condensed Milk. And the old tag-line for Carnation milk was “Made from Contented Cows”.

Happy cows.

So you can imagine that I paid attention on a recent Southwest flight when an article appeared with the following headline:

Cows with names produce 68 more gallons of milk.

And as a loyal marketer, I had to read on.  It turns out that a few scientists (with nothing better to do) determined that the relationships between the cow and the farmer mattered.  That a spike in milk production resulted from those cows with a name.  Instead of “Hey Cow”, I guess.  The scientists believe that personal attention improves cows’ comfort level while lessening their fear of human contact.

And my guess is that you can’t call a cow by name without eventually adding an upbeat inflection to it.  And, over-time, turning it into a nickname.  Bessie becomes “Bessie-Girl” or “Sweet Bessie”.  And the farmer is probably smiling.

How can you not?

Here’s where it comes full circle.  As I constantly am looking for ways to bring you successful ways to become better at career networking.

So for a lot of people career networking is really hard.  Very uncomfortable.  And a place of little safety.  Since, to do it right, you have to put yourself out there in a big way.

Similar to my rant about the need to personalize those generic Linkedin invitations, so it is true for in-person career networking.

If you can help the uncomfortable feel a bit more comfortable.  And help the fearful be less so.  There is a good chance you will be remembered.  And appreciated by a network that struggles to do so.

We meet so many people every week.  Creating tall Jenga towers with all the business cards we collect.  It is increasingly hard to be top-of-mind.

But I’ll bet if you are good with names.  Or become good.  You will have a bigger impact – especially the second time around.

Create a system to keep track of the people you meet.  So you don’t have to rely on a poorly written name tag.

Organize business cards and networking bios in a binder with sections for each major networking event you attend.  And review that section of your binder before the next event.  You could also organize it by industry or function.  That way you are doing it right – networking with a purpose – tracking and remembering people who can be a big influence.

Do you have a system for keeping track of names and details of the people you meet?

Tell me about it in the comments below . . .

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Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
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Categories: Career Networking

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