10 Secrets To Successful Career and Life Networking

10 Secrets To Successful Career and Life Networking

Guest Post by Tim Tyrell-Smith

We’d all like to be brilliant in the practice of career networking.  But many of us aren’t comfortable doing it.  Some were never told it was important. And a few more feel like they can’t afford it.  The price of a coffee, entrance fees for special events and the cost of a drink or two.  Sure, throw gas in there too.

Or maybe there is a concern about too much networking throwing things upside down at home.  Do our families need us there?  Of course.  So don’t plan to network three nights a week. But how about one night if you are actively employed.  Can you do that? Because if you truly want to get to know your community.  If creating a long-term and broad network of friends is on your list of things to do. Then you are out of excuses. And here are the secrets to doing it right:

1.  Get out of the house. While you can e-mail, text, work the phones and utilize social media tools in a smart way.  Your physical presence is required to really do it right.  Especially for introductions and to take a relationship to the next level.

2.  Go big or go home. You need to be in the right frame of mind.  Ready to meet new people.  And engage them with great questions.   Networking should be fun.  If you absolutely don’t “have it” that night, consider whether or not you can deliver your best.  In front of a bunch of people you are meeting for the first time.

3.  Stop selling. We all see opportunities rising up as we meet new people.  And, being a person who likes to connect others, by all means connect people.  But if that thing rising up is a self-centered opportunity to sell something, consider your timing.  And perhaps save that sales pitch for a thoughtful follow-up.

4.  Be a tactical extrovert. If you are largely an introvert, find the ability to pop out of your shell for a few minutes everyday.  Say hi to strangers and find out what they contribute to the world.  You never know whom you might meet in the car dealer’s waiting room.  When you replace a magazine in your face with a targeted smile.

5.  Spend a buck here or there. It is very easy to find free events in town.  And there are some very good ones that won’t cost you a penny.  But consider choosing one event per month.  And paying a fee to get in.  You might find a slightly different crowd.  And better content if there’s a speaker involved.

6.  Get comfortable. I always recommend throwing a wide net in choosing events to attend.  It’s nice to see which ones you enjoy the most.  But once you’ve experienced them all, pick one group or one event and go to every date on the calendar.  You can still sprinkle in a few other events each month.  But pick one and get to know people (the group founder, the regulars and the location’s host).  This will be your Cheers – where everyone knows your name.

7.  Go learn something. One of the things that makes LinkedOC a great group is the opportunity to learn from many of the greats.  Seth Godin , Chris Brogan, Brian Solis for starters.  To get provoked by the ideas of someone else.  Someone who might shake an idea out of you.  Or give you a push in an important new direction.

8.  Get Naked. If you are engaged in career networking because you need help with something (new job, business connections or capital for a new start-up), you must go naked.  Too many people are afraid to ask for help.  For leads or ideas.  Learn more about naked networking.

9.  Have a purpose. So based on #8 above, you need to know what you want.  If your purpose is to meet five new people in your industry, go to events where that is likely to happen.  And seek those people out.  If your purpose is to find investors for your start-up - same advice.  Networking without a purpose is called socializing.   Not that I’m against socializing, it’s just hard to justify that as an objective while I leave the family at home on a Tuesday night.

10.  Be interesting. We all have something interesting to share.  Unfortunately, few of us appear to be ready.  When the moment strikes and someone asks: “What do you do”?  Having a quick story, anecdote or interesting fact at the ready solves a lot of problems when meeting new people.  It puts them at ease and greases the skids for a conversation that might last more than a few uncomfortable minutes.

For those of you still on the fence.  Or simply need someone to gently shove you . . .

The next LinkedOC event is on November 11.  Bryan’s lined up a great panel and a hot speaker.  I heard Scott Stratten speak at Blog World a few weeks ago.  I wrote shortly after his keynote that it was like someone tossed a cherry bomb under my chair.

He woke up a bunch of ideas I’d been sitting on.  And changed the way I now think about social media and blogging.

So here’s my shove.  Sign up to hear Scott speak .  And consider becoming a permanent fixture of the community still forming at LinkedOC.


Tim Tyrell-Smith lives in Mission Viejo, CA and is founder of Tim’s Strategy - a blog that helps professionals succeed in job search, career and life strategy.  Follow Tim on Twitter @TimsStrategy and share his 30 Ideas E-Book with job seeking friends!

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  • http://wordsdonewrite.blogspot.com Amber Avines

    Bryan, thanks for having Tim guest blog for LinkedOC.

    Tim, really good networking tips! Thanks for sharing them with the LinkedOC audience.

    Amber @wordsdonewrite

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