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EP 1734 It really isn’t difficult to network. It’s like putting money in the bank.
Whether you’re job hunting, whether you are building a business, you know that networking is an important way that you can bring your business or find a job. Yet, so many people don’t make the time to do it. That’s really the theme of this video – –three things that you need to do in order to network effectively.
The number one thing starts off with, as I mentioned in passing, making the time. You know, it just has to be part of your calendar that you put yourself into situations where you can network. So, number one starts off with you have to make time. This is because otherwise, what happens? Frankly a network isn't one. People don't have that relationship and that is really is what networking is about – – cultivating a relationship.
How do you cultivate a relationship? Well, that becomes the second point. You have to stay in touch with people. After all, if you don't talk to someone for 20 years, how likely are they to do anything to help you.
I'm LinkedIn member 7653 (yeah, I was there very early on). Hundreds of millions of people later, I get lots of connection request from people who do nothing more than connect with me and, really, if they do reach out to me, their first message is, “Hey! Will you buy what I'm selling?” They don't really try to connect. They don’t really try to develop a relationship and, in trying to build a relationship, it's invariably, “Hey, can I spend 20 minutes pitching you?” That becomes the nature reaching out.
You want to start cultivating a relationship where you are giving, maybe, more than you're receiving. I belong to a BNI chapter. That's a business networking group with the theme of “givers gain.” And the truth is, when you're in situations where you give to others, you feel good. Initially, you may have an awkward feeling about it, but frankly, in situations I know where I and other people give to others, we feel good about that experience and we beam with pride about having helped another individual.
It's not that others are indebted to us, but we become magnets for support ourselves. Others want to help us. So, point number one is make the time. Point number two is, stay in touch and give to other people as you network with them.
Number three (and this is a fun one) have casual conversations. I was raised in New York, and, although I don't live there anymore, I will tell you that a casual conversation in New York is an awkward thing. It’s not like you talk to people on the subway, right? You have to put yourself in the situation where that weird thing happens and you’re the one that speaks and identifies it.
It's kind of like Seinfeld moments. If you're in a situation where something odd happens, without being awaiting lunatic, you can call attention to it and others can chime in in. You can have these casual conversations with folks that can lead to something more. Then, you can stay in touch with them and make the time to stay in touch with them and connect with others in order to build your network.
Where can you put yourself into contact with people? Depending on the city you are in, if you are a business owner, the Chamber of Commerce is a great place. If you're a job hunter or if you are an employee, there are professional groups where you can be of service and, yes, they take time out of your evening and, occasionally, on the weekend, but be involved with these groups.
I've been involved with an international men's group for the longest time and I have helped a lot of people with my involvement with that group. I will tell you that I felt good giving and I've gotten a lot back from a lot back from it and a lot back professionally, too.
I will say that, for you, the three steps are really important. I've never known a job hunter who has not lamented about not having a well cultivated network when they needed to change jobs. They are always, “Why didn’t I spend more time?” You know, it's like the person who has worked hard their entire life and, on their deathbed, laments about the fact that there is situation where they missed time with their kids.
Well, for you as an employee of the firm, for you as a business owner, networking is an important component. If you can schedule a little time each day – – 15 minutes – – to reach back to people in your life who you haven’t been in contact with for a long time… It could be former clients. It can be your former colleagues depending upon whether you are a business owner or an employee of the firm, and just say, “Hi! How are you? I haven’t been in touch in a long time and just wanted to pick up the phone to see how you were.” Or drop them an email, trying to set up a time.
Don't do this is purely an email exchange. Networking is a contact sport and to do it well, you actually have to talk to people. Email is okay after you’ve reconnected. But, the first thing is really a phone call.
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1700 episodes and “The No BS Coaching Advice Podcast” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was named a Top 10 podcast for job search. JobSearchTV.com is also a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.
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