Networking

Book Review: “The Networking Survival Guide”

Diane Darling, Founder and CEO of Effective Networking, Inc., wrote The Networking Survival Guide for publication in 2003, before the advent of Twitter, LinkedIn, and social media as we know it.

Which is why I like and recommend The Networking Survival Guide, because it is old-school.

Darling teaches, and pre-supposes, that the purpose of networking is to develop, strengthen, and maintain real one-on-one relationships with real people; ideally face-to-face, but when that is not practical, then one-on-one by phone and/or email.

Darling teaches:

  • Have a plan (know what you want to accomplish when attending a networking event)
  • Work your plan (prepare, prepare, prepare – leave nothing to chance)
  • What to do, and what to avoid, at a networking event
  • The all-important follow-up to maintain your network
  • Where to network (networking events, job fairs, anywhere there is a second person!)
  • How to network when you don’t feel like networking

There is a brief discussion, which Darling ultimately dismisses, about using Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs; anyone remember the Palm Pilot?). Otherwise, everything in the book is face-to-face, handshakes (dry palms), business cards, and if necessary, telephone. Old School.

It’s not as if Darling doesn’t understand LinkedIn. There is a Second Edition, published in 2010, with 40+ additional pages. I haven’t read this edition, I suspect there is at least a chapter talking about social media.

Still, I suspect that Darling agrees with me: Social Media, including LinkedIn, is a tool to help you manage your network, and is not networking in and of itself.

The Networking Survival Guide: Get the Success You Want by Tapping into the People You Know

The Networking Survival Guide: Get the Success You Want by Tapping into the People You Know

Darling, Diane.The Networking Survival Guide: Get the Success You Want by Tapping into the People You Know. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003. Print.

Have you read this book? I would love to know your thoughts. Leave a comment below, or connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Success doesn’t come to you. You go get it.

Networking fundamentals: the Introduction

When you meet people – at either an informal one-on-one meeting or a formal group event – you need a way to introduce yourself.

Name badges

Cheesy? Not if you are promoting your brand!

Cheesy? Not if you are promoting your brand!

If this is a formal event, you likely had to check in at a registration table. Often, they will have blank (or pre-printed) name badges.

Wear one.

If the badge is pre-printed, then it is what it is.

If the badge is blank, you have the opportunity to use it to support your brand.

Use a Sharpie pen. Standard ink pens tend to write too narrowly to be easily seen from a distance of more than a couple of feet. You might get into the habit of bringing your own Sharpie.

Write your first and last name.

Then, you have a choice to either:

write your Company name, if you are attending a Chambe event, or are meeting with a client, or are othewise representing your company; or

write your Occupational goal (one or two words – not necessarily a Title, but what you want to do), if you are attending an Association event, or are conducting an Informational Interview for your job search.

Naturally, you can modify your name badge for different events. For example, for one event, I may be

Kevin Dumcum

Business Developer

or, for another,

Kevin Dumcum

Motivational Speaker

or,

Kevin Dumcum

Homeless Advocate

(Often, because most of my networking is for my company, I am

Kevin Dumcum

Company Name)

Any of these have sparked conversation, which is entirely the point.

Whatever you choose to include, write legibly, and write large enough to be readable.

How to wear a name badge

Wear the name badge on the right side of your chest. As you extend your right hand, your body slightly turns. The other person takes your hand, and their eye rises up your right arm to the name badge on your chest. If you had put the name badge on your left side, the other person would have to look across your body to your name badge, a slightly awkward movement, for them and for you.

The handshake:

Web to web, two humps, and LET GO!

Extend your right hand (unless you or the other person have a legitimate reason you cannot).

Grasp their right hand with the web of your hand (between the thumb and forefinger) against the web of their hand.

Close your fingers around their hand. Be firm, but not too firm.

Two pumps, say your name, and say their name.

“Kevin Dumcum. Charles? Nice to meet you.”

And please, for the love of all that is good, LET GO(!!) after two pumps.

Don’t be overly familiar, or overly wimpy, or overly creepy with your handshake.

Success doesn’t come to you. You go get it.

I want to hear from you. Connect with me on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter, or leave a comment below, and let me know what you think!

Four elements of an Elevator Speech

I have established that networking is not about meeting as many people as you can. Networking is about creating added-value relationships.

Still, to create a relationship, you have to meet people.

And when you meet people, you have to have an introduction.

Thus, the Elevator Speech (or Sales Pitch, or 30-second Biography…).

Elevator Speech - what you can say in the time it takes to take an elevator ride

Elevator Speech – what you can say in the time it takes to take an elevator ride

A successful Elevator Pitch should be:

Short – no longer than 30-seconds.

Focused – stick to one topic.

Practiced – not something that you come up with on the spot; otherwise, it risks being neither short nor focused.

The basic elements of a decent Elevator Pitch for job seekers are:

Who you are.

Speak slowly and enunciate so the other person can hear and understand.

Smile and say your name.

Do not hand them your business card or resume! Keep those in your pocket / briefcase / portfolio (for now, at least).

What occupation you are targeting.

Own it. It is not what you want, but what you are. “I am a…,” not, “I am looking for an opportunity as a…”

Keep it forward-looking. Spend no time talking about what you no longer can or want to do.

Keep it focused to one occupation only. As soon as you say, “I also…,” you have lost your audience.

Why you should be considered.

What are the perhaps two special qualifications that you can share that will differentiate you from everyone else who wants to do what you want to do? Do you have a relevant degree and/or certification? How many years’ experience do you have?

Review your STAR stories (you have already created five to seven STAR / Achievement stories), pick a positive Result, and work it into your Elevator Speech.

What you are targeting / what are the next steps.

Here, your phrasing depends on with whom you are speaking:

  • If you are speaking to a hiring decision maker, try something like, “How do you see someone who has my qualifications fitting into your organization?”
  • If you are speaking with someone who is not in your target industry, then say, “I am targeting [THREE OR FOUR SPECIFIC COMPANIES], and would appreciate any assistance you can give.”

Again, practice your Elevator Speech so you can say everything you need to say in 30 seconds. You will know that you nailed when they ask you follow-up questions.

I’ll expand on each of these elements in future posts.

Success doesn’t come to you. You go get it.

I want to know what you think. Please connect with me on Twitter and LinkedIn, or leave a comment below.

What “networking” is (and it may not be what you think)

It is generally believed that up to 85% of all job positions that are filled, are never posted. This seems high to me; but whatever the real number is, it is undeniably true that employers prefer to hire those who are referred to them.

As a job seeker, then, your challenge is to get a referral.

Which means you need to meet more people.

Which means you need to Network.

To increase the likelihood of landing the position you want, you need to meet someone who can refer you.

To increase the likelihood of landing the position you want, you need to meet the person who can refer you.

Many people believe “networking” is a contest, going to industry conferences, schmoozing, handing out as many business cards and collecting as many as you can. For many of us, the very idea of making small talk with lots of people we don’t know is uncomfortable at best, and even paralyzing.

Some of us believe “networking” can be adding lots of people on LinkedIn or Twitter, because it is easier to “talk” if we never have to actually meet.

I am not going to try to “out-introvert” any of you. Just understand that I buy more books in year than I have Facebook friends. I have never been naturally gifted with the art of small talk (my brother got these genes. I got the good looks). But I have learned this:

Networking is not about adding as many people as I can into my contact list. Nor is networking accomplished predominately, on social media.

Networking is about developing added-value relationships.

That is, every time you meet someone new, you should be asking yourself, “How can I help this person?”

And how do you know how you can help someone?

            Ask them!

            Listen to their answer!

            Follow up!

Once I learned this, “networking” became something I actually enjoy.

I still go to my share of large industry conferences, and I do collect my share of business cards. However I do not have as my goal to meet as many people as possible. I have as my goal:

Meet one new person, and see how I can help them.

Do this often enough, and your network will grow. Even more, you greatly increase the likelihood of finding the person who can, and will, refer you to a hiring decision maker.

I’ll share tips I’ve learned to become a better “networker” in future posts. Follow along!

Success doesn’t come to you. You go get it.

I want to hear from you. Connect with me on FacebookLinkedIn andTwitter, or leave a comment below, and let me know what you think!