Wise & Young

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Found this and thought it'll be interesting




Networking
What it is

* Networking is collaborating, connecting, exchanging and gaining information from and with others
* Networking is asking for information
* The stakes are lower because you are asking for information and names
* It is your responsibility to set up the meeting and drive the agenda

What it is not

* Networking is not asking for an interview or a job
* It is not as formal as an interview

Your networks

* Your interpersonal network includes people who don't see your business persona; rather they see you in relationship to personal bonds. They are your relatives and friends.
* A professional network includes people who know you at work. They can convey their opinion on how well you perform. They see your business persona and therefore, they focus on what you contribute rather than who you are.
* An affiliation network includes business associations, community groups and professional groups. Their opinions are based on how well and how much you contribute to the overall objectives of the group.
* Situational networking occurs unexpectedly, in the spur of the moment, with accidental conversations or during unexpected circumstances.

Calming your nerves

Even the most seasoned networker feels scared and alone at times. To help calm your fear, start networking with people you are most comfortable or familiar with. These people are already part of your informal, primary networking team. But there will be a time when you will be faced with walking into a room filled with strangers.

* Look for people in a group, maybe where one or more are doing most of the talking, join in by listening. When attention focuses on you, introduce yourself. If the conversation is not of mutual interest, move on.
* If you feel more comfortable in a one-on-one setting, look for those individuals standing alone. Break the ice and introduce yourself. Find out where they're from, what they do. Make conversation.
* Look for the coordinators of the event, introduce yourself and learn if they know someone that you should meet. They usually want the event to be successful and will help you mix in.
* Look for the person who seems to know everyone. Introduce yourself; let him or her know you do not know anyone here. Ask if he or she will introduce you to others.
* Be prepared to talk about yourself.
* ARRIVE EARLY. Sometimes it is easier to start with a small group, and keep up with whose coming in, versus walking into a totally filled room.
* Keep your eye on the prize. Remember what your goal is and stay focused.
* Get people to talk about themselves. If there is a mutual benefit for both people, then pass out your card. Ask for theirs in return.
* Do not enter a conversation that appears to be intensely focused. If you have and did not realize it, remove yourself gracefully and quickly: "I am sorry I interrupted you. I will talk with you when you are not so busy."
* When entering the room or a new group, scope out someone you may have met or seen before and re-introduce yourself to begin the conversation.
* Find someone who is wearing something you can comment on as to the uniqueness, color, style, etc., to break the ice.
* Mingle, mingle, and mingle with people in different areas to get to know a broad spectrum of people, then leverage the contacts you've made.
* Just do it! Sometimes you just need to jump in to find out the water is fine.
* Ask a friend to go with you to an event. See who can make the most networking contacts.
* Attend networking mixers such as the Chamber of Commerce meetings. The Chamber of Commerce can provide you with a list of current networking events in your area.

Tips for networking in person

* Project confidence in how you dress, what you say and how you listen.
* Use good eye contact while speaking and listening.
* Extend your hand for a firm handshake.
* Speak the person's name. People like to hear their name, and it will help you to remember who they are.
* Smile. Let people know you are approachable, friendly and happy to be there. No one knows how scared you may be inside.
* Be aware of your surroundings. If the person you are talking with looks busy, allow them to leave with dignity.
* Write a thank you note to anyone you met who has given you a lead, advice or important information to assist you in your job search.

Tips for networking over the phone

* Project confidence and a "smile" in your voice.
* Build rapport quickly, within the first minute.
* Always ask if this is a good time to talk with the contact. If the time is ok, then you can identify the purpose. If it is not a good time, ask when would be a convenient time for you to call back.
* Identify yourself and if someone referred you. "Mr. Smith, my name is Bill Yee and I am a colleague of Julie Hess. Julie tells me you've had a lot of experience in company reorganizations. I was wondering if I could speak to you about your career development. Would you have an hour to speak to me, perhaps over coffee?"

Thank you notes

Once you have left the meeting it is time to write or type a thank you note. There are no exceptions to this. Someone has taken their valuable time to talk with you and you need to acknowledge their effort. A telephone call does not have the same impact as a note.
Red light signals

A person's willingness to talk with you will depend on several factors. Beware of the following:

* You go over the time limit you and the contact have agreed upon. If you want more than 10 minutes don't say, "I'll need only 10 minutes of your time."
* You ask for too much from the contact. "Would you be kind enough to review my resume and help me with my job search strategies?"
* You have not planned for the meeting and therefore don't have questions or agenda items prepared and don't know what to say.
* You ask for a job.
* You do all the talking and none of the listening.

Keeping in touch

There are many opportunities to keep in touch with people you have met along the way. Below are some examples of how you can continue your networking relationship.

* Send a card for a birthday or anniversary.
* Send holiday cards.
* Acknowledge the person with a note if he or she receives a promotion or job change.
* Don't call people in your network only when you need something. Call to just say hello.
* Drop a note through e-mail.
* Send or e-mail a clipping of an article you have read that someone else would be interested in.
* Focus on how you might be able to help others.

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