Networking Made Easy by Mark Cook – August 22, 2017

Two managers having conversation




What comes to mind when you hear the word “networking”?

 I recently asked a few of my clients that question and here are some of their responses:

  • Wine and cheese events
  • Meeting lots of new people
  • Awkward
  • Leaving with lots of business cards from people I barely got to know
  • Not easy and not sure how it benefited me

If you are like most, networking is a difficult task you would rather avoid. You may also be unclear about your desired results and whether you have achieved them.

But, networking doesn’t have to be painful. In fact, networking that gets results is not complicated and everyone can do it—and perhaps even enjoy it – when you know what to do and you prepare in advance.

At Heart At Work, we have a unique perspective on networking. We coach clients about the three types of networking meetings:

  • A Professional “networking” Event where people with common interests gather to exchange business cards and quick introductions.
  • Informational interviews, when you are exploring a career field and need detailed and current information to determine if it’s a good fit for you
  • Strategic conversations, when you know the field of work in which you want to work, the position you are qualified for, or when you want to explore how your skills might fit with an organization’s needs

The key for all meetings is to be intentional and have an agenda. You need to be clear about the purpose of your meeting and then prepare accordingly.

If you have an upcoming informational interview, for example, develop a list of questions in advance. Research the person you are meeting with on Google and LInkedin. Make sure you have a current resume that highlights your accomplishments and a LinkedIn profile that draws interest and speaks to your capabilities, since it’s more than likely that your contact may look you up.

Next week, I’ll discuss the types of networking meeting more specifically and how to leverage them for your success.

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