In case you missed the November 2017 Master Class...

How to Make Networking an Art, not an Accident

James works for an organization and is currently in the Human Resources department.  He has come to the realization that he would really like to transfer to the Talent Development team. He knows, however, that he needs to become more known to the hiring managers within the Talent Development team.  He has met a few people in that department, but wonders, “What’s a good next step to show them my character and competence? What can I do and say that will make them think of me when there’s an opening?” 

Have you ever found yourself in this type of situation?  If so, you have just identified a need for networking skills!

Participants in our December Master Class, How to Make Networking an Art not an Accident, learned how to follow up and build relationships for long-term, mutual benefit.  The key to this issue lies in knowing how to gauge the stage of trust you’ve earned with each of your important contacts. There are appropriate - and inappropriate - things to do and say at each stage of the relationship-building process. These activities are the foundation for becoming an intentional relationship builder.

As an intentional relationship builder, you are aware of the kinds of things you’d like to teach your contacts in each encounter. The following series of questions highlight the notion that it often takes six or eight encounters with someone before he or she knows who you are, has learned what you do, and has the evidence they need to begin to trust you. 

“Rate Your Relationships” Questionnaire 

While thinking about the person you’d like to start a relationship with, answer these 15 questions. If you’re unsure of the answer to the question, then the answer is “no.” 

Does my contact: 

  1. Demonstrate knowing my face and my name by coming up to me, saying hello and introducing me accurately to others?
  2. Know me well enough to recognize me “out of context” in a new setting?
  3. Know several ways to contact me?
  4. Recognize my name instantly when I call?
  5. In conversation, explore commonalities and needs?
  6. Accurately describe what I do?
  7. Give vivid examples of what I do?
  8. Know that I am good at what I do and can cite reasons why my work is superior?
  9. Know of some independent verification of my expertise – an award, certification, third-party endorsement?
  10. Respond quickly to requests from me?
  11. Regularly send me valuable information and resources?
  12. Know what kinds of people can use my expertise and is on the lookout for them?
  13. Always speak well of me to others and pass my name along?
  14. Tell me the truth, keep confidences, and have my best interests at heart?
  15. Bring me into all areas of his/her life over a long period of time? 

James noticed that Jeff, from the Talent Development department, probably didn’t know that James had recently completed his master’s degree in Training and Development (Question #9). So, James decided the next time they were together at an interdepartmental meeting, he would weave that fact into the conversation as a way to teach Jeff more about his skills and competence. 

Thinking about your own situation, when did you begin to answer “No?” Noticing that fact will help you decide what you want to be sure to say - and ask - the next time you see a contact in your network. They will then have the evidence they need to build trust.  Once trust is established, you might be in touch once a week or once a year—depending on the relationship or desired outcome. Either way, you’ll know how to take a professional approach that’s not too pushy and not too passive.

With greater awareness, you too can become an intentional relationship builder and master networker!

Vern Schellenger is a Principal Consultant with Contacts Count, a global consulting firm providing training, tools and strategies that enable individuals to become more effective in building and utilizing their networks. Strategic Connections – The New Face of Networking in a Collaborative World, is the company’s new book, filled with the most current research and information on how individuals can achieve work goals, career goals, and contribute more value to their organization.  

Contact Vern at vern@contactscount.com


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