The secret is in your approach:
If I said networking to you what thoughts would it evoke? Secret handshakes? Old Boy’s or Girl’s clubs? Standing in a room full of strangers not knowing who to talk to? Talking to someone who is trying to sell you their accounting services when really you want to be talking to the person over there who might be interested in your CV?
No wonder many people don’t like the thought of it. And yet we are told it is how to get on in business and in our careers. So, how can we be better at it? the secret lies in our approach.
A Networking scenario:
Let’s say you are at a jobs fair and there is an open network session. Consider these two instructions:
Go into that room full of people and see if you can get an interview from someone.
Go into that room full of people and start listening to people.
Which would you prefer to do? Would you be surprised to learn that the second approach is more likely to get you an interview?
Clear your mind:
The reason we are sometime afraid of networking is because we think we are meant to be selling something, when what we should be doing is listening. Listening is not 'hearing' words someone else says whilst we try and think of something to say back, but clearing our mind and actually listening to what is being said, learning about that person and what they are talking about. If you want to find out more about this I would recommend reading Dale Carnegie’s book: ‘How to win friends and influence people’.
Of course, when someone does turn around and ask what you do, you should have your ‘elevator pitch’ ready. This should be less about job titles and more about how you help others; how you can add value. When the people you connect with speak to others who might need your help, you will be recommended to them. And yes, the next blog will be about your 'elevator pitch'
Buying a television:
I am far more likely to buy a television based on a recommendation from someone I trust as oppose to what the manufacturer claims on their television advert. It is the same with networking. Listen to people and build relationships; you will be recommended to others.
If you have any advice or help for other readers, please leave a comment below. Thank you.