Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Networking Tips

Below is a recent e-mail about networking, followed by my response:

Question: Up until now, I have been very successful in my career. Now that I’m between jobs, I find myself shying away from doing what I understand is key to transition, that thing called networking. What can I do to get over this and how can I be more effective in my networking?

Answer: Networking is the way most professionals get re-employed and find meaningful work, and though most know this, many are still reluctant to practice “purposeful” networking. This means developing a disciplined process of connecting with others that is in line with your natural style that you can do with clarity, authenticity and enthusiasm. Here are a few tips:

Develop a brief and compelling elevator pitch that focuses on who you are, what you do, how do you do what you do, and what kind of help you need from the connection.

Follow your curiosity: What is it that you need to know or learn? What advice do you need? What information will help you move forward?

Practice reciprocity: Be in a position to offer your help, ideas, advice, even if this will be given later.

Start with the people you know and move out from there: Everyone who knows you will probably say yes to your request for help and is also likely to have their own interesting set of connections and relationships that you can tap into. Implied here is that you must ask everyone you meet for referrals to other connections.

Develop a disciplined approach: Make networking integral to your transition activities and be sure to continue purposeful networking for the rest of your work life.

Best wishes.

Mark Guterman