This month I want to give you some encouragement all about NETWORKING.
First, let me just say that I really don't like that word...it has a sales-y kinda ring to it. So, I call it 'talking to people'. Fancy, eh?
These moments of seeing people either by accident or by plan is an opportunity to interact - some of us, myself included, need to be reminded once in a while to be your most coolest, fun, smart and engaging version of yourself and start creating positive encounters when bumping into and talking to people.
Online can be both a convenience and a tricky place to make connections, build our network and maintain our contacts. Face to face has the benefits of reading body language and perhaps connecting at a deeper level than email or LinkedIn can do.
How do you connect with your network the most? Face to Face? Online? How does your network reach you? I'd love to know your strategy for staying in touch with your contacts.
The easiest and the most efficient networking approach is to start with people you know. Even when they work in jobs or fields you don't really care about. Each person in your inner circle of friends and family has the potential to know someone who IS in the job or field you are interested in. Our objective is twofold: 1. continue to build our relationship with our network and 2. get a referral to the person that is closer to our goal.
Networking is way more than just having a huge list of people - it is about relationship building which must be a 2 way street. Not just us using our contacts for all they are worth.
Having a 'warm' referral from our inner circle can open doors and fast track our research or job search. The key to using our inner circle is to make sure that you are crystal clear on what your goal is. The more focused you are on your goal the easier it is for our network to help us. Our goal is to be the first person our network thinks about When an opportunity comes along;)
But it's so important - it helps break the ice and leads conversations out of the shallow end and into more meaningful discussions.
If you are sometimes at a loss for how to be good at small talk always come back to showing interest in the other person with open ended questions.
What was your favourite part about X, When was the last time you attended Y...that sort of thing. It's not an interrogation - just a little smoother than..."hey, great dip at this party".
This is a great strategy for any introverts who might have a party coming up! p.s. I enjoy chatting about dip at parties:P
If you liked this post please share it with your network!
Have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year! I will be back in January with another post to give your career a boost;)