[02.10.10]
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New Networking Strategy: Get Naked

At first blush, you might find this topic a bit unsettling. It’s about honest networking. But after you sit with it for a few minutes, I think you’ll come around.  To my way of thinking.

honest networking

The normal advice for networking is to go in strong. Confident. Be that person someone wants to hire.  Tomorrow.

And normally I’m right there with you. It is the correct posture for most people. Not cocky, of course. But sure enough of your skills and abilities that folks will want to spend time with you. That you are worthy of an initial five minutes of networking. Instead of someone else.

But what if you are not in that great place everyday. You are in a rut of epic proportions. And genuinely need help from your network. And instead of asking for help you act like you don’t need it. It’s all good, you say.

What then? Is this honest networking?

Well, after the networking event is over and you gave a high five to all those people you always act confident with. You head to your car and sit there. Just sit wondering what you are going to do next.

Because even though everyone got the impression that you are well organized, have a full schedule of coffee meetings and a slew of new leads. The truth?

You aren’t.  You don’t.  And don’t.

And the problem is you are the only one who knows the truth.

And because you put on such a good performance, everyone is spending their networking time with others.  Some who have asked for help or at least opened up a small window to what was really happening in their job search.

I hear from some of the people who are feeling a little stuck. I respond with an invite to say hello by phone. To help with a few new ideas. During my commute to work.

Some call and some don’t.  But at least they are reaching out to someone.  And recognize in themselves that not all is rosy. At least not right now. That’s honest networking.

So the idea here is to take off the heavy coat that’s hiding the real situation. If you need help, ask for it.  And when someone answers the call, pick up the phone. And then say confidently “Hey, if you’ve got a minute. I could really use your help with something.”

But let me be clear. This is not your invitation to soapbox your job search issues. With a loud and public cry for help. Because some will see that as it is. A train wreck.

If your pride is preventing you from saying so.  Take this advice.

And get naked. It’s honest networking.

Thanks m.prinke for the photo via Flickr.


Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
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Categories: Career Networking

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