This post is about using effective networking habits. Are you using these?
Sometimes when I write on a big topic. Like career networking. It makes sense to split the idea up into two posts. Easier on you to understand effective networking habits.
This topic has become so critical for everyone, hasn’t it?. Whether you are looking for work, new consulting opportunities or ways to grow your small business, career networking is absolutely essential.
But how do you do it? What are the best career networkers doing and how are they doing it?
What are their effective networking habits?
I gave a presentation on this subject yesterday at a networking forum in Los Angeles sponsored by McDermott & Bull, a progressive recruiting firm here in Southern California. Their Executive Network supports hundreds of people through their job search transition process.
Here I’ve separated the 20 effective networking habits into two sections:
Things To Be (Part 1) and Things To Do (Part 2)
So, for today, here are the 10 Things To Be as part of your effective networking habits:
Grabbing the positive attention of people at networking events is critical. And the way you do that is to have a great story. A great elevator pitch that includes something compelling. It will be different for all of us. Some are personal stories of triumph. Others are tales of work successes. But you need a story to engage people. Period.
You will meet all sorts while networking. Many of whom will not do it right. They will make mistakes. The “new”, the “impatient” and the “needy” will find their way to you. And your reaction to them is critical. Instead of looking for an out, look for the opportunity to educate. You will be thanked and remembered for that . . .
Don’t crawl under a rock and don’t expect that showing up at a quarterly event will properly freshen your career networking relationships. You need to pick a few key organizations or events and go consistently. This way you become a part of the fabric. And you start to build friendships that will now extend beyond your visits. Set a goal for yourself that gets you in one general and one industry or function specific group event per month.
You are relevant if people attending events see you as having value. To them. Right now. How do you do that? First, keep up friendships and each time you re-connect, ask great questions to make sure you know what is happening in their lives. This allows you to offer value that is specific to them. If it is a job search driven group, offer to serve as a volunteer and create subject matter expertise. Be the resume expert for your group. Or the job interview prep person. If you help someone achieve their objectives in life, you are relevant.
Be Social Media Savvy
To be effective in today’s world, you really need to be savvy in social media. It is the easiest and most effective way to keep in touch with your network. In a personal way. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Foursquare to name a few. If haven’t already done so, get started today. Really.
In order to really do this right, you have to be honest with people. If you tell everyone what they want to hear and promise the world, the results will be poor. If someone approaches you the wrong way, I encourage you to tell them. “Hey, I appreciate what you are trying to do, but . . .”. You can make great friends with people by helping them see the benefits of selfless networking. Those who come to an event as only a “taker” will find frustration in this new economy. Unless someone like you gently straightens them out.
How do you build influence? Well, you can read my post 10 Ways To Become A Person Of Influence. But, in short, it has to do with creating a sense in your network that you have something unique to offer. Something you’ve created. A group, a presentation, a helpful spreadsheet (for example). You can also do it by being selfless. Over time, your good acts will create a wave of positive momentum. And people will come to events looking for you. That makes networking easy. And fulfilling.
If you bruise your network, it will be less pliable. Less interested in supporting you when you need it. And I think we all know that this new economy has been a teachable moment for us all. Don’t ask for more than you deserve. Don’t disregard a networking request if you can help it. And don’t over-use a networking contact.
Say thank you. And display your thanks in more ways than one. Know the needs and wants of your network. So that you can give targeted gratitude. Instead of something coming back to bite you, this effort will come back to kiss you. Gently on the cheek.
And a bonus…
In order to do this really well, there will be sacrifices. Less time at home with family. No more American Idol. Less Sunday football. OK with that? Being present means that you are there. At the events. And are there mentally as well. Focused uniquely on whoever is standing in front of you. It means having the ability to move around and “be present” with as many people as possible.
So there you have it. All things you can practice. Starting today. And I think you will start to see results pretty quick.
Be these things (effective networking habits) and I will be proud to call you a career networking friend.
What else do you think matters in career networking?
What have I missed?
Like this post? Be sure to come back for The 20 Habits Of Highly Effective Networkers – Part 2. Or better yet, sign up for the RSS feed or e-mail updates. That way you won’t miss a thing!
Thanks Maryland GovPics for the photo via Flickr.
Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
Tags: career networks | executive networking | facebook | Job Search | meeting new people | networking events | networking forum | online social networking | social networking
Categories: Career Networking