Networking: The Old Fashion Way One of the advantages of living or working in New York is the availability or exposure to so many events. I thought about this on last week as I attended the launch party for Caribbean One magazine. What made this special is that I took my daughter, Lauren as my guest. Over the years I have always taken my son Sean, but she just graduated from college on last month and is now back home so she will be my permanent guest for a while. Over the years, specifically since high school, I have always stressed to importance of meeting people, getting connected and the importance of being known in whatever industry you choose. They have for the most part followed this model and are constantly working on getting their careers in shape. We met earlier in the day, had a glass of wine and she brought me up to date on her job search, 4 upcoming interviews that she got on her own. We discussed her research on the companies. We reviewed industry knowledge, we discussed their current marketing strategy and we reviewed her “2 minute pitch”. She brought me up to date of the bio’s (LinkedIn) that she had read on each person that she would be interviewing. With that done we headed to the event. As we rode over in the cab, I gave her background on the event and who the key players were and the key points of her pitch to people she would be meeting. My role has always been to get them acquainted with the tools of career management at an early age. The first step is on this path is networking Networking is at the epicenter of career development but more importantly it is and should be the center of life, yet it is so often overlooked. Every time you are interacting with people is an opportunity to network. So many times, people never think of networking until they are in job search mode. You know the ones, you have not heard from them in ages and possibly the last time you heard from them they either were very busy or did not return your call, but now they are out of work and they are going through their contacts and calling everyone up. You notice on LinkedIn that all of a sudden they are connecting with everyone. Wrong method!! When you walk out of your door each and every morning you are entering into network nirvana. When you attend a conference or any type event, it is opportunity to meet new people and connect. Face to Face meet and greet is still the gold standard of networking. What is your networking strategy? Do you have one? So, tell me about yourself or Ron, what do you do? What is your reply? This is your opportunity to deliver your own infomercial. This is just a few lines as to what is important to you and what impression you want to leave them with. What is your brand? Everyone and I mean everyone should think about this question. Practice your pitch, Google 2 minute pitch or elevator pitch to find some examples. Get yours in shape and take every opportunity to use it. When I finished college and went to my first professional conference, one of the leaders of the seminar said that “You are no bigger in your industry as your rolodex”. For Gen X, Y and Millennial that is the earlier version of contacts or bff. My earlier post on this site concerned social media and the importance that is plays. Let me repeat this. Having contacts or friends, connections, followers on the major social networks does not constitute
effective networking unless you know personally each of these contacts, friends or connections. My measure of effectiveness is that if I send an email or make a phone call to any of them, would it get returned? If I can honestly say yes, that is a strong connection. Don’t hide behind this false reality. Get out and “meet people” and “connect” If you are a good networker and you are “connected”, find a recent college graduate or someone that may be currently unemployed and pass on your skills and techniques. My father always said that each generation should do better than the previous one. What are you contributing to the next generation to make this a reality? Get connected and Stay connected.
Ron Thomas StrategyFocusedHR Ronaldemail@example.com