By Nate Dondanville, Executive Vice President
Another networking event? Who has time to research specific groups? Find out where they meet? Drive into the city to attend? Cancel something else to make time to go? Or just get up off of the couch?
Whether it’s looking for a new job, looking to hire someone, expand your business prospects, or whatever…Networking used to mean that you had to go out of your way to put yourself in specific situations, groups, and environments to meet the right people. Get dressed up and polish up your elevator pitch. It still does, so do it! But these days networking should happen in every day real life and still takes a conscious effort. Think about it, whether it’s social networking, professional networking, or something in between, there are so many opportunities to connect with people that can help you…and that you can help.
Think about the things that we do everyday:
- Facebook – too easy
- Linkedin – way too easy, networking is why people have a profile in the first place
- School – yours or your children’s
- Sports – yours or your children’s or anytime you’re sitting in the stands
- Hanging out – you may be surprised who your friends are and who they know
That’s the easy part; we do those things all the time anyway. The hard part really isn’t that hard, you just have to talk to people. And ask questions. Everybody likes talking about themselves, but you’ll find out a whole lot more about who can help you by asking questions. Ask questions to people like:
- What kind of work do you do?
- What does that company do?
- Can you help me out? – people like to help, but you still have to ask
- How can I help you? – it’s not all about you…be sure to think about what you can do to help others
Who you know can make all the difference in achieving the things you want to accomplish. And a lot of times, you don’t know who you know! Do the extra things to network with specific organizations and groups, but don’t forget about the people you’re already connected to in everyday life. And ask for help! Knowing the right people doesn’t matter if you don’t leverage those relationships and ask for them to help.