I’ve been thinking a lot about networking lately. It has played a very prominent role over the past 12 months as I’ve drafted my new WorkLife. And, I’ve been busy planning recently the first Westchester Rivertown Women Networking Program (see the bottom of this article for more info on that).
Upon reflection – I’ve learned a few things:
- Networking is about building relationships: I love building relationships – professionally and personally. Talking with people and getting to know them is fun and rewarding.
- Successful networking is NOT transactional: at least not for me – when I only want or need to get something from the other person, networking is more of a chore – and it can be intimidating. Networking works for me when we both get something from the interaction – even if it is just an engaging conversation.
- People are happy to talk: as I explored how to build my career post-corporate world, I reached out to many people both inside and outside my network. I asked lots of questions. The insights and guidance I received were openly shared and super valuable. Personally, I like to give to others AND I like to talk about myself. Turns-out, that’s true for other people too!
- Networking just happens: I started a lot of new things in 2018 – new volunteer work, lots of visits to a new gym, embarked on this coaching adventure. Through all of these paths – my network has expanded and flourished. I did not undertake all of these activities to build my network – it’s just been a very happy bi-product.
- Formal networking is ALSO about building relationships: As I work to grow my practice, I have increased the number of formal networking groups and programs I participate in. But – I find the connections I make at these events are the most successful when I focus on engaging conversations. Hustling for something I need – like new clients or a new job or a referral – is again, intimidating, not fun and not particularly productive.
- Talk less and listen more: As mentioned – I do like to talk about myself and I am really excited about the work I am doing. But – as I evaluate how I network and build relationships – I think listening more to what other people are up to is an area of opportunity. That’s where I find out how we can engage together in a meaningful and productive way for both of us. Hold me accountable – if you catch me talking more and listening less – please let me know!
As you reflect on your approach to networking – what’s works for you and what could be better? What is your favorite networking tip or trick? Please do share – I am listening!!!Introducing the Rivertown Women Networking Program
Introducing the Rivertown Women Networking Program
If you are a woman and live in the Westchester County Rivertowns – I invite you to attend the inaugural Rivertown Women Networking Program on January 29. RSVP through the link below. In addition to formal and informal networking, Trista Neubauer from Co-Create HR and I are partnering together to present some suggestions on how to ace networking in-person and on-line. I hope you can attend.