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