I just read an article called (I’m paraphrasing), “10 Guaranteed Methods of Successful Networking”. The essence of its guidance was to use a self-focused networking approach. Not one word was mentioned about creating any new relationships with your networking contacts. Using a “self-centered” style is unproductive – in time, energy and results. Remember the old saying, “The more you give, the more you get”? As my father used to say, “There’s a reason ‘Old Sayings’ are around; they’re true.” So how do you network if it’s Not about You?
Imagine you’re meeting with a new networking contact. What is your primary goal? Simple. Get to know this person and build a new relationship. It’s understood by both you’re looking for work. You’ve sent your resume prior and brought extras. You’re upbeat and happy to be there. You show interest in them and appreciation for their generosity. You learn about them by asking questions. It allows them to talk about themselves. Your questions should be professional and a bit personal. Questions like, “How well do you know Mr. Reed?” (the person who introduced you) “What is a typical day like for you?” “What helpful lessons have you learned in your career?” Make it about them. Create a conversation and they’ll reciprocate by asking about you.
Always ask for their guidance, suggestions, opinions, etc. What do they feel could be helpful to your search? React to their feedback like every idea you hear is a fresh one. Never say you’ve heard that or tried something suggested. Always ask for introductions to useful contacts of theirs. By demonstrating your interest in them throughout, sharing their contacts is more probable. Allowing you to use their name with others is a huge benefit. Mention that you’ll be following up to get their contacts’ information. After parting, within hours, send a personally written thank you card. Personal mail is a thoughtful and memorable touch.
In attending Networking Group gatherings use a similar style. The more questions you ask of others and how you may be able to help them, the more favorable impression you’ll make. People tend to reciprocate when meeting a helpful and cheerful person. How new contacts react can be surprising. Since I can’t cover every step, can you begin to see how Networking is Not about You?
Connect with Rick on LinkedIn
CareerToolbox International, LLC