Networking is a bogeyman for so many people. They diligently avoid it based upon discomfort and fear. My guest, Tom Broxham, is someone who faced down a huge justifiable fear to become a networking all-star. Listen to his journey and apply it for yourself.

From Fear to Friendly. Becoming a Networking All-Star | JobSearchTV.com

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so my guest today is
tom broxham tom has over 14 years of
experience working in different types of
office environments
across canada and now new zealand my
first new zealander on the show
he's got a great personality and built
strong
and positive networks of people
and this all despite having had
some really justifiable reasons for
some lifelong fears in his life that
i'm sure was going to translate very
well into our talking about
networking and fear of networking tom
damn how are you today oh i'm absolutely
horrible it's just
don't want to do this no thanks very
much for inviting me on the show it's
it's great really appreciate the time to
be able to talk about
networking and it's a it's a beautiful
saturday morning here
and it's a friday late afternoon here
and uh i see you're on your morning
coffee good for you
tom what happened what what happened to
you
that brought this fear so dramatically
into your life well one of the worst
fears that i had was
a fear of water when i was three years
old i drowned
my dad had to jump into the water and as
soon as he got into the water
i was already dead and thankfully he had
cpr training
because he was an x-ray tech he started
restating me
when i was in the water still brought me
back
into the shore and finished it off and i
was able to come back
but from there when i was eight years
old
people who didn't like me very much
pushed me into the deep end of the pool
and i nearly drowned that should have
been traumatic enough as it is
one of them should have been bad enough
then when i was 13 years old
people came from behind me they pushed
me
into the water and i nearly drowned
again
after that i didn't go into the water
very much and when you have experiences
like that as it as a kid
your self-confidence just is shot
you become very insecure and you become
a lot more
introverted that and you definitely
don't want to go into the water after
that
it wasn't until i was in my 30s that i
said enough's enough and i learned how
to swim but it took a lot
to be able to get to that point
and when i was a kid alone i was just
picked on a lot
how did that fear wind up ruling you and
inhibiting you
in your relationships with others
trust you know like when
i couldn't even go into the water more
than waist deep and just always afraid
not just drowning but like in general i
don't like people being behind me now
and i know at times if i'm walking down
the street i might be walking very fast
and i just don't like having people too
close to me
which can be quite hard with networking
because someone's always
around and you have to be closer to
people but at times
i might be in a restaurant i might be
just that's usually just because i'm
really hungry
[Laughter]
thank you and thank you for opening up
about that
um you know i had my own episode with
almost drowning
my father and my
uh and uncle they decided to teach me
how to swim
so there was the classic uncle taking me
out
and going save yourself
and i couldn't i didn't know what to do
and that became the freeze moment now
uh obviously my version of it is
different than yours but fears like this
are
i know for me it was very paralyzing for
a long time
and caused me to be pretty quiet around
other people
because i too had a trust issue folks if
you've been with me for any length of
time
i know this is new information for you
and it's not normally the way i present
there are ways to overcome this and this
is really what we're talking about today
is we've each talked in times to me is
he has multiple episodes of this
of you know bullying intimidation an
accident being the first one where
he's in the water and almost drowns and
thus
how do you begin this process of
overcoming the fear
and this fear permeates the rest of your
life and
we're talking about how do you do this
and start
networking with people especially when
you know you know you it's hard for you
to trust folks because
they've hurt you so badly over time
well i'll talk about just how i learned
how to swim
in general i started traveling around
and i realized i was missing out on
opportunities when i was in places like
cuba
dominican republic jamaica i couldn't
really go in the water and
i missed out on so many opportunities
and if someone came back from a
snorkeling chair
telling me about all the different
things they saw i'm like oh
well i can't do that then i saw a
picture of someone snorkeling with a
whale shark
i thought that's an experience that i
want it's still an experience i want
but if i can't even get into the water
how am i going to get into the water
with something
of that size and i decided enough's
enough
i'm going to learn how to do this small
steps
that was the key for it like i decided
that's it i want to do it i'm going to
do it and then i signed up for lessons
that's how i started everything the
lessons that i learned that night
i take with me for so many other aspects
and this is why it's really important
for me to talk about the drowning
and how it relates to the networking for
me so
when i went into the pool that night and
it was three feet deep
i thought i'm gonna drown i can't even
do this
and one of the things we had to do was
submerge ourselves completely
i sat there for a minute just breathing
and trying to catch the right breath and
anything that was negative in my head i
had to
put that to the side and then i just had
to
sit there and catch that one right
breath once i caught it
i submerged myself i came up and thought
this isn't so bad
those same skills i take into me when i
go to a networking event
and no there's no chances of of me dying
at the networking event
but it's it's fear and it's the same
aspects it's the same steps that happen
so
before i go into the networking event
catch that one right breath
start small if you go into networking
event to 300 people
and you walk right back out maybe you
want to start smaller and go to a
networking event where there's
10 or 15 people and try that out first
one right breath in the 300 event
uh moment you know hi it's my first time
networking i'm terrified of being with
people
i'm going to the 300 person event first
of all
don't but but let's say you decide
you're
it you know like stopping smoking you're
going to go in and
dive in and try it
with ice you know focusing in on one
person
be a way that someone could manage that
that is and one of the important things
with networking two
is if you just talk to one person you
still are networking
and what people won't realize is what
we're doing right now
we actually are networking and some
people think that you just have to go to
those big events
you don't have to there's nothing wrong
with going to them
but if you're going to go to them and
walk right back out we need to look at
it a little bit differently for you
and there is nothing wrong with just
having coffee one-on-one with somebody
and what i like to do is go to events
that i know are going to be best for me
so i like to spend time in the outdoors
go to an outdoor club
go to one of their events something i'm
passionate about too is public speaking
so i go to toastmasters there's 10 15
people in the room
that's the way to do it and
my background's in accounting so i might
not want to go to a networking event
that's full of
lawyers it's just not going to go over
very well
and sometimes you need to think about
that like
where are you going and like why are you
going to that event
don't just go there because it's a
networking event go there because it's
the right event for you
and these days and we're recording this
while kovit is still rampant around the
world
i think in terms of okay we're now in
zoom calls and networking that way
and one suggestion i might make to folks
is okay you've got the tic-tac-toe board
up on your screen
with all those faces pick one
message them through private chat
yeah yeah you know he said something
interesting
i was wondering if we might talk
afterwards at what number can i reach
you or could we set up something at a
different time
for us to have that conversation so that
this way
you can take those 90 people on the
screen
and break it down to one or two people
that you
reach out to and judging by those head
nods
you like that idea it is
i remember being on a zoom call not too
long ago
and then all of a sudden i had a message
pop up and like oh
all right and so we were chatting off to
the side
because the person heard i was from new
zealand and she wanted to come over here
i'm like oh this is perfect and we
didn't want to cut across everybody else
that was chatting so we just
had the little conversation to the side
but
if you do like it's it's interesting
some of the aspects that i've found out
about introverts in the last little
while
and i'm actually introverted myself
some different aspects how they're even
coming on to linkedin and they're coming
into here
and some people they might be in that
group of
10 15 people on a zoom call and they sit
there quiet because they don't know how
to do it
but if you can focus on that one person
that could help
that could really help and if you decide
that i don't know how to cut in here
being able to go and do it into that
chat
might be your way in and that might be
the
best way for you because then at least
you don't have to talk you're only
typing it instead
and that might make all the difference
bingo
and it's i'm so glad we're having this
conversation because i hadn't really
thought about this
in the context of what we're all dealing
with during the pandemic
and how do you network at a time where
you can't just simply say let's meet for
coffee
or let's meet for 20 minutes
how do you do that and meet new people
when everyone's kind of
walled off so
it it can be a little bit more of a
challenge
but this is a prime example right here
no you can't meet for coffee but i've
got my coffee right here anyways
and all you do is just
you set up a call with somebody instead
and it doesn't have to be a zoom call
like
it can be an actual phone call what is
that
that's like an antique zoom i know it's
it's really i love what people actually
call me and i'm like oh
i'm excited i'm getting a call and
because quite often we just text now and
it's it's rare that we actually talk on
the phone but
you can do these calls and one really
important aspect
of networking is linkedin and this is
actually how we connected
on linkedin and sometimes it's as you're
engaging with other people's posts
as you're posting as you're commenting
that's networking it's a different kind
of networking but there's nothing wrong
with it
at the end of the day you're still
building relationships up
and that's what we're going to always
need it doesn't matter how the medium
is we're always going to need to connect
in one way or another
now linkedin i was number 7653 on
linkedin
of the almost 700 million people on the
platform
and i've got a brand name the big game
hunter
it's like contact this person contact
you
yeah yeah it's a very profound brand
and you know i have 26 000 first level
connections which isn't the big deal
until you realize i rarely accept
connection requests
i didn't do it for the longest time i
never accepted connection requests from
recruiters
until recently because i saw them as my
competition for my time doing head
hunting
uh so 26 000 at this point i think is
you know i could easily be you know 50
or 60 if i accepted
recruiter requests because they all go
after my network globally
but you know on linkedin how do people
start to make that
contact that allows them to start
building relationships what would you
recommend
one thing that i find interesting is the
introverts
now i thought a lot of introverts were
doing quite well on linkedin
but some of them have just told me well
i don't even know how to
okay well jeff made a great post but i i
i don't want to engage with it i thought
why not
really because i'm i'm introverted i
thought
i thought that just had to do more with
just talking not actually hey
jeff that's a great post i think you
made some uh valuable comments on there
but they don't know how to do that so
one thing
you can do if one of your friends is an
introvert or one of your connections
tag them in a post especially if
let's say one of your friends is a
recruiter but they're a little on the
introverted side
and you happen to have a post that has
some
valuable information that could really
help them
tag them in them and ask them a question
about it or comment about it
what do you think about this see if that
will help them
some people that are on linkedin and
like this is something you you
just mentioned that you didn't add very
many people before and a lot of people
that are on linkedin they're like
have i met you no then i'm not going to
add you
or why would i talk to this person oh me
i
i've got a lot of different connections
that some of them i've never met before
and some of them it was
i met them through this person through
this person through this person
and so on and so forth and those are
some of my best opportunities that came
up
if the only people you talk to are the
people that you have met
on linkedin there's so many
other opportunities that you're missing
out on and
something that i've seen recently
it was jim rohns who said this you
become the average
of the five people you spend the most
time with
now if you think you better than you're
a job seeker
and you're hanging out with five other
job seekers
it's going to be that much more
difficult to get ahead now think about
it
if you are that job seeker now if i
start talking to
a recruiter somebody who works in the
field that i want to
somebody who works in branding another
person in marketing
another person in hr now also you have
some
different people you've been talking to
different points of view
they can give you different tips that
you didn't think about before
compared to those five people before
that are all
just looking for work too they just have
the same
information they might be able to give
you a little bit more details
but unlike the other five where they're
not in your network
and they might be able to say to you hey
jeff there's something
on your linkedin that let's change this
or hey i noticed that this would be
great for you or
here's a small tip recently i had a
videographer
send me a message and said your message
is good
but i couldn't really hear you and your
lighting
it needs a lot of work oh
well okay and that was a huge help for
me
it was problems i didn't even know i had
what you want to do is just start to
reach out to people that
that could help you whether it's
someone in recruitment or it's in a
company that you want to work for
or in uh just a different company and if
you're
unsure of how to approach some of these
people
see if one of your connections is
connected to them
so for example if if i want to work for
let's say some if i want to reach up to
somebody recruiting and i didn't know
them
but jeff knows them i might send jeff a
message and say hey
can you introduce me to this person
he'll send the message
introduce me and that just made it that
much easier
you know the person who gets ahead isn't
always the smartest
they don't always work the hardest those
are great qualities to have
people get ahead by being alert to
opportunities
sometimes they're internals of their
organization more often than not they're
external
now with the external ones
folks you could be applying to things
that were blue in the face but the
statistics i
see are pretty damning about
the number of positions that get filled
through
job postings or by recruiters
and the old statistics which i still
quote are no more than 30 percent of
positions get filled that way
linkedin claims it's now down to 15.
they've got a vested interest in talking
about networking
so i don't know if their data is
accurate or not
i'll just simply say if you believe it's
30 7 out of 10 positions are filled
as a result of the introductions uh to
the people
they're filled as a result of networking
by the way
of the 70 percent 70
of them or 49 come as a result of
introductions to people that your
network knows
who you don't so this notion that we're
talking about of overcoming your fear
by taking small steps not big
sweeping things unless you want to
excuse the metaphor dive into the pool
yep which most of us don't want to do
because we're afraid if we
if it was easy we would have done it by
now so
overcoming our fear with small steps
goes a long way toward moving ourselves
forward
so we get what we said we want in life
i'll give you two examples of when i was
looking for work
one of them i sent out over 120 resumes
i received three calls that was it
so hours of redoing their resume
going to another company page filling
out all the information again that's
already on the resume and doing this
again
setting up another username and password
three calls out of over 120 resumes
when i came to new zealand at first i i
didn't even have a working visa so i
couldn't work
and i spent all my time going for coffee
doing networking
talking to recruiters three months later
on i got a call
from a recruiter saying hey do you want
to go do an interview
but i i don't have a visa yet he said
well just just go for the interview
and see what happens did the interview
and the company's like we want him for a
short-term contract
and i called the recruiter and he goes
well when's your visa come in
i've got i
went turned around called my uh
immigration advisor oh it was approved
today
call the recruiter back i'll take the
contract
day one of having my visa i had an
interview secured
and i was able to get a short-term
contract
that's because of networking and that's
the power of networking
now one other example i can think of i
was looking to get out of accounting
and i was talking to some of the
different managers and she said
why don't you go talk to lorraine one of
the other internal managers
and just see what's going on because she
had difficulties getting internal
candidates
so i i met up with her and then she's
like oh you want you want to
you want to talk about yeah okay great
she told me about three jobs that were
coming up in her department
and then one of the jobs i looked at i
said that sounds perfect
but i don't have this particular aspect
she went to the
job description deleted that part don't
worry about it
it's not even there now and then she
said hey
do you want to do some cross training
and i talked to some other people within
the company
so by the time the interview came around
i was already cross-trained
on that particular desk i had a working
relationship
with the manager and her team lead and
the person that i was going to be taking
over from was like yeah we want tom to
do that job
so anybody else external that's what you
had to compete against
so when you see those job postings
chances are they already have someone
in mind for those jobs
it's interesting you know when i coach
people about interviewing
you know everyone tends to see a job
description or a job ad
that has this enormous list of skills
required and
preferred skills and
you know let's work with the assumption
that this 15 item
list of requirements they really don't
need all 15.
unless it's a depression in which case
they go well
settle for someone with 14
yeah but once you get to the interview
as you discovered with this manager
they're willing to overlook certain
things
if they like the person if they connect
with you
and i always talk in terms of when firms
hire
competence is only one variable they
look for self-confidence
character chemistry maybe a little bit
of charisma because ultimately they want
to trust the person that they hire
and i want to work with the person i
want to like them yeah
usually some of them don't care that
much
but i want to bring us back to
networking yeah because
there's just so many wonderful tangents
that you're very capable of taking me
off on
so how did your personality open up was
on the basis of having some of the
successes
doing these small steps how did you
pivot that part
in your journey some of it was the small
steps and just
doing one-on-one coffee or just meeting
people with one-on-one
and that made all the difference in the
world it just
it builds your confidence and then some
of it as i met people that were
more extroverted and i started taking on
some of their personalities
or also i'm sitting with one of them and
there's 15 of them
but because i'm comfortable and i'm
knowing them on a one-on-one basis
i'm now comfortable with talking with
all 15
at that table and just recently i was at
a networking event
it was very it was a different
networking event that i'm used to
but not only that i thought about it
differently
and one of the things that i learned
when you go into formal networking
events
is looking for gaps in the room and what
i mean by that is
if you see two people that are face to
face
there's no gap there like you you you
just can't squeeze in
now let's say we had opened up a bit and
we weren't
face to face we were more like this
there's now a gap there
and when i've been at these networking
events and i've talked to people about
this gap i'm like hey let's try it out
also we'll go from a tight group of
three open it up
almost on cue someone will come in and
now we've had
someone else come in they're like oh
that really does work
so when i go to networking events the
first thing i do is i look for gaps if i
can't find one
is there an individual person by
themselves so
i'll we'll go and find those individual
people
and body language can make all the
difference
if you go into one of these events and
the person's by themselves but
that's not a person you want to go talk
to or if they just have this
i do not want to go talk to them and
what i've seen some people is
that nice big beautiful smile
oh i'm gonna go talk to them or
sometimes they just happen to look over
and they're like
yes come talk to me come talk to me and
and that can make all the difference in
it in the world too is
sometimes it's finding these small
little tips that help but it's about
knowing yourself and being comfortable
and and knowing what's going to work for
you best
and by the way folks the first pause
that you heard tom do
he was staring at his phone and this
and that's for when we do this as a
podcast and the second one
um i don't know what that was but
there was a pause in there as well i'll
go back and listen to it and
put it on the show notes but it's
interesting because from toastmasters
that you mentioned earlier
which i'm a huge fan of i've i had
someone from toastmasters on earlier
this year who was a terrific guest
and you know you talk about the face to
face
and for the experienced person you know
that's still two gaps in there
because although they may be talking if
you do the
walk over and occupy one of the two gaps
of the face to face
eventually they open up a little bit and
if they do that's really rude
but yeah yeah well your clothing has a
room about it
but normally they'll open up to you but
what she's talked about in
in the dyad where it's open and they're
waiting for the other person to fill out
the triangle
that one's the easy one you kind of
angle your way in there
and just listen to the conversation flow
and then ask a question along the way
and you know take the small steps in the
conversation
to kind of get yourself ingrained in
there
and when you end that conversation
this is the the tricky part for a lot of
folks how do you
end it in a way that opens up the
possibility of continuing it
outside the room
so you don't see it as often now but a
lot of people still do have business
cards
but one thing that i i just learned
recently on linkedin
when you're on the app there's a small
part like in
the search corner and you can scan
somebody else's linkedin
and so what it'll do is it'll act like
you can add the person from there that
way you don't have the awkwardness of
how do you spell your name again for the
fourth or fifth time that i've asked
today
but like what's really important is is
getting a business card or getting the
linkedin connection in
and saying look let's connect over
coffee or
let's have a zoom call let's do
something
but actually follow up with them too
don't just
collect the business card yeah i'll give
you a call or i'll
i'll send you a message and then don't
do it because that'll be a missed
opportunity if you have a great
connection with them
over that small networking aspect there
wait until you can actually
have that proper conversation but do
follow up with them
because a lot of people will get that
card never follow up with it
and it's a wasted opportunity horrible
and one thing i do
these days i'm not face to face with
anyone but when i was doing face to face
i would hand them my phone and have them
input
their contact information so that in
this way
i'm not going through the awkwardness of
tom could you spell your last name for
me
yeah and was that uh what area code was
that or
country code um we're not going through
that nonsense
it just makes it easy you know your
information
i think you can fill it out and if you
fill it out incorrectly there's a
message in that
that you ought to know about but um
no matter the idea is small steps
help you overcome the fear and
those steps build on one another
yes and help help you make progress by
the way
what happened i asked you about so far
that we really should talk about
geez that is a good question because
sometimes you end up
talking about so many different aspects
and you're like i know there's something
else in there
but i i don't know what it is now one
thing that is important to talk about is
when it comes to networking it's not a
transaction
and if you go into a networking event
think well i just got to get clients or
i i need to get a job
it's one of the worst things to do so
when someone sends me a message on
linkedin
and the first thing they do is say oh
this is my background and uh do you have
any jobs
no now the whole entire conversation is
just done
and it just and if you're at the
networking event like in person and
someone asked that
now this is just awkward and i don't
even know if i want to talk to you
because it it just
it just feels awkward and the important
thing with networking is
it's about building relationships now
think about one of your really close
friends you may
have not even talked to them for a few
weeks maybe a few months
but if you talk to them tomorrow it'll
be like nothing ever changed
one of my close friends it's probably
been a couple years since i've seen him
but i can guarantee you if i called him
tomorrow
and it would be like nothing ever
changed that's what you want with
networking
building relationships up like that what
happens quite often is people like
okay i've got to find a job so i'm gonna
network network network
you're spending all your time doing this
and then all of a sudden you get that
job
and you completely stop with everything
if you do that to people again and again
they will remember that
and it'll be oh i don't know if i want
to connect with you anymore
or help you out and the truth is folks
that's the mistake every job hunter
makes you know it's
i need i want give me
and the problem is you know we all have
that behavior and we're sending very
clear messages to folks
when at the end of the search we don't
tell them folks that we found the job
we don't tell and we don't stay in touch
with people
and help them you know they send a
message to you
and your reaction is what do they want
so i i hate to be that grotesque about
it but this is behavior now that's too
well
ingrained in the linkedin system now one
thing i'll mention about linkedin
because it's dirty little secret is
most people are only on the platform
when they're looking for work
so of those almost 700 million people on
the platform
if you send them a message to connect or
that you want to
have an informational conversation they
may not respond so quickly
so you have to demonstrate persistence
which i know for someone who's feeling
fearful may be hard to do
but it's not personal they don't know
you to reject you
it's you know it's they just don't check
in on linkedin
all that often to get your message
so don't sweat it just keep doing
and the thing i also want to mention
is it takes courage to take that first
step
and most things that are new start with
courage
and if you if you act in a transactional
kind of way that's not courageous that's
just spamming
[Laughter]
and people get that message you know a
quick story with me
at this point i only have my linkedin
set up to
follow rather than connect because i was
just getting too much garbage
and there's still people who will follow
me and they'll message
and these days every coach i know is
getting bombarded by people who want to
coach coaches
and often the first message is
hey have you thought about writing a
book
yeah i've got nine i'm working
i'm working on my tenth i i see how much
you've looked at my
profile but this is all transactional
for you
that you spam people do
something personalized for the
individual that you reach out to
rather than commoditize the connection
request
to monetize the first conversation
remember it's about building a
relationship
not hey i've got 26 000 people in my
network you know
and most of these people don't really
know me even though they reached out to
me
it's an amazing thing what i've found
can be really helpful
instead of sending the first message
let's say they have a post and you can
add value to that post
comment on that post now you've got a
warm introduction
and i don't know how many times i
haven't sent a message to somebody
saw their post engaged with it or they
engage with one of my posts
and then we started chatting from there
and that made it
just that much easier to be able to go
and do and sometimes it wasn't even
about
um work or clients or anything i'd seen
somebody
post a message about country music and
then i said to them have you ever been
to calgary for the calgary stampede
like no but that sounds awesome and
that's how we started our conversation
it
it had nothing to do with clients or or
customers or
anything like that it was just actually
being personal
fabulous from fear to friendly that's
what we're talking about today
tom how can people find out more about
you and the work that you do
there's a few different ways you can go
on to my facebook page
which is the brockton network so that
for them please
x h a m dash
n-e-t-w-o-r-k you could also find me
on linkedin tom brockson
t-o-m-b-r-o-x-h-a-n
and then i also do have a linkedin
facebook
a linkedin page as well too i don't use
that as often
then i do have a webpage and it is the
broxah network
so
r www.broxham-n-e-t-w-o-r-k dot com
fabulous tom thanks for making time
today and folks
we'll be back soon with more i'm jeff
open the big game hunter i hope you
enjoyed today's show
if you did and you're watching on
youtube click the like button
subscribe to the channel do something
that lets people know it was helpful
and i also want to mention visit my
website thebiggame100.us
there's a lot there that can help you in
the blog if you're interested in
one-on-one coaching or have a question
for me
there are ways that you can schedule
time for a free discovery call if you
want to do coaching
or if you just have a question i offer
two options for how to get
the question answered and last thing
i'll mention is
i've got a great class on udemy called
the ultimate job interview framework
and you can get to that and order it
very inexpensively like
i listed at 25 but udemy discounts it
for first time users on the platform to
like 12
so i'll just simply say to get to the
class most easily
go to the big game hunter dot u s
forward slash
interviews and it'll take you directly
to the class
which by the way that same title is also
available
as an amazon book or for kindle
hope you have a great day and best of
all and most importantly
be great take care

ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER

Jeff Altman, The Big Game HunterJeff 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, 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 2200 episodes.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? Schedule a discovery call at my website, www.TheBigGameHunter.us

NEW! Online Mock Interviews www.TheBigGameHunter.us/mock Inexpensive online practice that you can record an I review.

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