“So, I’m doing some networking today at lunch,” she said. “I thought I’d have Joe introduce me.” Joe is a colleague of hers. “He’s going to say, ‘meet Dr. Faulkner, she enjoys….” And already I tuned out.
That’s how one of my very favorite clients started our conversation this morning.
As we talked about what she wanted to accomplish with that approach, and how it might land, my client, Dr. Faulkner, suggested I write about this issue.
You see networking is an opportunity for people to get an experience of you. It’s not (at least I don’t think it is) an opportunity to advertise. It’s important that you be able to say what you do in a concise and relatable way. That can best be accomplished be relating!
So, for example, my client Dr. Faulkner is transitioning in her career from Academic Dean to Organizational Development Consultant and Coach. She might respond to the what do you do question like this:
“Last week I did a training for one of my clients on practices that raise the emotional intelligence of leaders and teams so that they get more done, with more fun and engagement, and in a shorter amount of time. What do you do?”
Another client of mine is the Chief Inclusion Officer in a large consumer products firm. She might say this when someone asks her what she does:
“This morning, I met with our executive team on chief priorities for the company for this new quarter. And then, We had an “all hands” meeting to brainstorm how to execute those priorities with representatives from all levels of the organization. Our commitment is to include the perspectives, creativity and insights of our most important asset, our people. This allows us to engage the discretionary energy and brilliance of our front line manufacturing staff, office and administrators, team leads and even custodial. This is the secret behind our impressive efficiencies, AND our very low turnover.”
The next issue is why network? The CIO above is networking with other executives to share wisdom, build relationships, and ultimately incentivize investment in her company. Dr. Faulkner is networking to raise her visibility so that she may serve more of the appropriate companies in her market.
Why do you network?
What do you want the people you meet to know about what you do? How can you RELATE to the person you are speaking with so that they can have an experience of you?
To your continued success,