This is part 4 of the 16 post series
It’s hard to do, especially if you go at it the wrong way. Heck, I don’t like networking the way most people do it myself and I’m a Networking Strategist.
If I could find a new word that we could use instead of Networking, I’d never use this word ever again. But, it’s such a long standing word and not likely to go away.
I actually don’t want you to think about networking. You will be far more successful if you “Network for Mutual Benefit.” This style of networking focuses on making connections, having open conversations, helping others when you can and never asking for a job. Did you hear this – NEVER ASK FOR A JOB!!
Here are the two big tips that can help you to Network for Mutual Benefit better and with less difficulty.
1 – Start networking with people you trust and respect. Ask these folks to introduce you to other people they feel may be able to help you. Get to this introduction by having a good conversation with your friend, family member or neighbor. Share ideas, listen to what they have going on and just chat about what ever you want to talk about. When the person you are talking with asks you, “what can I do to help you?” This is what you want to ask from them, “Who else do you know that I should talk with?” They will not know about a job, they will not know about a business that would hire you. But, they may know someone else who could have some ideas or who could introduce you to yet another person who may be able to help you or give you some new ideas. This is all you want from your friends and family. And check this out – the people who trust, respect and care for you are likely to only introduce you to good people. People who you have something in common with, because they know your friend as well. This would be easier than meeting someone you have no relevance to at all.
2 – Never ask for anything. Always focus on the person you are talking with and strive to make the conversation all about them. This is how you get them talking and sharing ideas. When appropriate, ask how you can help them. When you get permission to ask for something, likely when they ask, “How can I help you?”, ask only for one thing, “Who else do you know that I should meet?” Just as before, don’t ask for a job, instead strive to meet someone else who may have ideas and suggestions of other people or companies who may be a good connection for career ideas.
This is still hard for some people to do, so I have one more idea that may help you get started.
Don’t stress out about networking and looking for a job. Just go out and have a good time talking with people. Get comfortable having pleasant conversations with people. Practice just talking with people and asking questions. A good conversation will lead to more conversations and somewhere along the way you’ll get permission to ask, “Who else do you know that I should talk with?”