Nicole LaBeach executive coach- Networking

Yes, Networking Still Matters… 

Last Updated: Jun 7, 2022 | Executive Coaching, Leadership

By Nicole LaBeach, PhD, PCC. 

Change. Change. And more change. With so much of it, we can’t ignore how networking has shifted in the pandemic. Unlike previous times, fewer networking opportunities were event-driven, and some of our most effective means of networking over coffee became non-existent.

Now, as we seek a new normal, it’s important to recognize that networking still matters. One-on-one catch ups, whether face-to-face or virtual, are still a meaningful chance to connect and/or re-connect without the distractions of being in a big crowd. Now more than ever, it’s our responsibility to make networking work to our advantage. Here are five quick tips to help ensure we make it more effective:

Have a Clear Point…

A networking meeting is more likely to be effective if it’s clear why it’s happening. What are you seeking, looking for? What is your ask? Why is the connection potentially relevant? Have you been referred or recommended to meet? And, if it’s a get-to-know-you meeting, are you ready to let the person get to know you (e.g., be appropriately open, vulnerable, and ready to share common interests)?

Be Strategic…

Be strategic and clear about the value of the potential connection and seek to connect with people who can help you grow, serve others, and manifest your vision. If it’s about your growth, have an idea of where you want to be in a year, five years’ time, and be ready to share critical points of your journey. Relationships matter and the art of the fair exchange is critical — let them get to know you and be authentic in your attempt to get to know them. Your strategy should also be aligned with gratitude in that it can create a chance for you to meet people they know who can help you further grow your own network.

Make It Mutually Beneficial…

Remember, a networking meeting isn’t just about what you can get out of the other person — there has to be some benefit for them too. So, think about what you can offer and what opportunities you may have to serve in excellence. What are your special skills or connections? How may they benefit them? Do you have acquaintances or experiences in common? Pay the other person the respect of doing some background research so you know who they are, what’s meaningful and important to them, and what their career path and big projects have been.

Respect Their Time…

Time is one of the greatest commodities. Those we network with offer a great treasure — their time. Be respectful of that time. Be committed to not monopolizing your conversation and make sure your meeting doesn’t go over time, unless the other person is agreeable to keep talking. Lastly, follow-up to stay connected and nurture the relationship.

Be Present…

Be present (e.g., no phones and text distractions) and polite, keep appropriate eye contact, share from a genuine space, be an active listener, and thank them for being open to connecting. You also want to show your integrity by keeping the agreements you made while meeting. And, if you spoke of connecting on LinkedIn, sending an article or book reference, sharing a contact or the like, be sure to do so.

Ultimately, you still want your networking efforts to set the tone for showing your character, appreciating new connections, and foreshadowing future possibilities!

To learn more about networking skills, leadership, and pursuing your full potential, contact Nicole, for a consultation.

 

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