Just a quick post on networking.
Do you need to bring “something” to the table in order to be effective in networking?Â After all if you have nothing to offer than you are simply a user, right!Â And who wants to help a user.
A lot of people I think do not pursue their networking options because of this thought that they have nothing to offer.Â This line of thought is misguided.
There should be basically three groups of people within your network:
- Your close personal friends and family
- Professionals that you have a good relationship with (mentors, co-workers, past supervisors, etc.)
- People you have meet through networking activities, or while shopping at the supermarket.
Whether you need to bring anything to the table or not depends on which group your contact is a part and what it is that you want of them.Â Your contacts within the first, two groups will most likely know that you are unemployed and looking for help in getting a job.
For these people, why would you need to bring anything to entice them to come to the table?Â They are already there.Â They are already to help you.Â All you need to ask.Â But in asking, you cannot be needy and you cannot ask more than they are able to, or want to give.Â How do you know what the limits are â€“ ask.
Your discussion should not center around, â€œcan youâ€¦â€ nor â€œwill youâ€¦â€Â Your discussions should center around, â€œhow I shouldâ€¦â€ or â€œwhat do you suggestâ€¦â€ or â€œwhat would be the bestâ€¦â€Â If you frame your open-ended questions asking for advice versus a close-ended question asking for a specific need, then neither you nor your contact will ever feel awkward.Â Do not put your close contact in a position to say no.
As for the last group, as I agree, you need to be a giver.Â The relationship has to be back and forth.Â If you are part of job club or networking group specifically for job seekers, then it is easy.Â Â Everyone knows each otherâ€™s agenda.Â It is simply a matter of exchanging information.Â It is the old, â€œscratch your back, scratch my backâ€ routine.Â Note I said â€œscratch yourâ€¦â€ first.
The â€œtrickyâ€ part is if you join Toastmasters or a ski club with the intention to build your network versus joining for its intrinsic value and your genuine like for that club.Â If you have an ulterior motive, then yes, that could hurt you.Â The answer is not to have an ulterior motive.Â Just be up front.
You must network.Â You must build a solid team of people willing and wanting to help you.Â Do not shy away because of any false notion that you must â€œbring something to the table.â€Â Use commonsense, do not act with an ulterior motive, be sincere, and your contacts will be happy to help you.