Monday, September 14, 2009

Performance & Success Advice Blog Post # 21 - Networking

If you listened to the Success Advice Podcast # 4 “Invest in Yourself,” you would know one of the main reasons that networking is such an important way for you to invest in yourself.  In this podcast, I mention that around 80% of all the jobs you will ever have are found through your network

Is that a reason to start networking or what?

Let’s analyze the definition of a network before we go any further.  The definition of a network that we want to use is:

  • A group or system of interconnected people (or things). 
  • Under this definition, the dictionary on my MacBook reads “a group of people who exchange information, contacts, and experience for professional and social purposes.”

With this being said, the word networking is the act of building your network of personal connections. 

I don’t know about you, but I take pride in my network.  I also take pride in building my network.  This is probably because I am outgoing and I love meeting people.  One thing that I do that I recommend is writing your new contacts an e-mail after you get home.  It is a simple gesture that shows you value them enough to take a few minutes of your time to write them a note.  

*TIP* - Take a few minutes out of our your day to write a follow-up e-mail to any new contacts you meet. 

Networking does not have to wait to be done until networking events.  Networking is done every day, every time you meet someone.  You never know who you are going to meet, where you are going to meet them and when.  This also means that you also should be cognizant of your image whenever you leave your house! 

Do you have business cards?  If not, get them!  What are you waiting for?  So what if you are a student…it leaves a lasting impression on someone, an impression that they can take home and add to their Rolodex!  If you don’t have a business card, go to and click on the link for free business cards on the right side OR click here to get some FREE business cards!!  If you don’t know what to write on yours, comment on this post or e-mail me at and I will help you!

Here are some tips for Networking that you can implement TODAY:

  • ALWAYS carry business cards on you!
  • Be conscious of your image all the time but especially when you plan to be in the presence of other professionals
  • When you meet someone, ask them if they have a business card on them and exchange cards!
  • Place yourself in settings where you are exposed to successful people, and go meet them!
  • Join clubs, groups, and associations to surround yourself with people and an environment conducive of what you want to do with your career!
  • Form professional contacts in your field of interest and go out to lunch or coffee with them to get to know them and their profession better!
  • Organize your network in a safe place so you can stay in touch with your contacts! 
    • Facebook and LinkedIn are simple ways to do this
    • Creating a personal rolodex and database are ideal
  • ALWAYS follow-up with an e-mail after meeting someone.  Trust me, it is a great habit to get into!
  • *TIP* - Follow-up with a personalized, hand-written thank you note after meeting someone of stature, that you look up to, would like to get to know better, that gave you their time, took you out to lunch, etc.!  It makes a huge statement about who you and where your priorities are!  It shows that you are willing to take a few minutes of our your day to write them a personal note and mail it to show your appreciation, that they made an impact on you, and that you are polished, responsible, and serious enough to show it.

Build your network starting today!  Here are some strategic tips to help you grow your network TODAY:

  • It may be a step outside of your comfort zone, but take that step!
  • Don’t be afraid to take initiative and go introduce yourself to successful people! 
  • Go ask for their business card and advice! 
  • Ask for permission to stay in touch with them! 
  • Remember that it is ok to utilize your network and ask for advice from your contacts!
  • Be aware of the first impression you leave on people…this will likely be the way that they perceive you!
  • If you know you are going to meet with a specific professional, research them and prepare some questions to ask!

Get out there and make lots of connections!  You never know, who you meet may either help you get a job or hire you in the future!

Scott Ginsberg, a.k.a. the Nametag Guy, is a great guy to learn from about Approachability, Networking and more.  Read his article about Marketing YOU in the Q2 & Q3 issues of the Collegiate Performance Magazine.

Good luck and let me know how it goes!

Questions?  Comments?  Blog with me!

1 comment:

  1. Soundbites of wisdom here... You hit a nerve with me regading business cards...What freaks me out when I meet people is when they hand me their business card - boring, boring boring... Get real and design something that people will remember - many times it's all you're giving them at a first meeting...