I recently came back from the American College of Healthcare Executives meeting in Chicago. I go every year and always enjoy my time there, especially this year when the temperatures reached every day somewhere between 75 and 85°. I always take this time to meet with as many executives I have connected with in the past and I use it as an opportunity to connect with those I have not.

I did meet with one gentleman who provided me with some feedback and even though I was already aware of it, it really struck a chord. He shared with me how people network with some of the things he finds to many to a complete turn off. 70% plus of the jobs are found networking and we spend so little time on it and we do it so ineffectively.

  • We continue to circumvent the process and go right for the kill
  • We sound desperate
  • We expect people who don’t even know us to refer us to people that are important to them or opportunities they have a vested interest
  • We want it all in one meeting
  • We see it as all about us, no concept of reciprocity
  • We do not see it as important that we bring value to the meeting also

What we need to remember is that:

  • Networking is not transactional, it is relationship driven
  • It’s only purpose is not just to find a job opportunity
  • It’s about connecting with people – not just networking. Networking can be very shallow
  • It needs to be seen as a process, not a one-time deal
  • It needs to be reciprocal, even if it means only asking the question, “How can I help you?”
  • We need to cast a wider net, a more informational approach. Make it easy for people to want to talk to you. If you never connect with them you can never build a relationship.
  • Be sincere
  • Focus on what you can control

Author: Jim Wiederhold

Jim believes his 39 years of experience--particularly his more than 26 years in healthcare--has prepared him well for what he does. His wealth of experience spans key areas, including finance, operations, management, leadership, sales and sales management, corporate, contingency, contractual and retained recruiting, outplacement and transition work and executive coaching.