Event Date: 05/27/2015 (2:00 pm EDT - 3:00 pm EDT)
SARAH SCHAEFER: Effective Networking: Turning Conversations into Relationships hosted by HRDQU and presented by Amy Dinning. Today’s webinar will last around one hour. If you have any questions, you can always type them into the questions box. We will be answering questions as they come in life at the end of the presentation or as a follow up by email. My name is Sarah Shafer and I will moderate today’s webinar.
Amy is a learning and development manager of Arris with extensive experience working with all organizational levels setting in the strategy of creating, promoting, and delivering talent, leadership, and learning solutions designed to support the organization’s business plan. Amy is passionate about creating an interactive and enjoyable environment that supports learning and growth. Welcome, Amy, and thank you for joining us today.
AMY DINNING: Thank you so much, Sarah, I’m happy to be here. And thank you everyone for being on the webinar today. The reason we’re speaking about networking is it is something that I’m very passionate about because I believe it’s a really important life skill. I believe it’s a skill when you’re working, I believe it’s a skill when you’re looking for another job, when you’re unemployed, you can use it for so many reasons for so many things and that’s why I’m here today, and I hope that is why you are here today as well. And just an interesting story because I like to tell stories when I go through webinars, the reason why I’m here today is because of networking. One of HRDQ’s favorite people, Lou Russell, who does some webinars for them recommended me into HRDQ to do webinars. So through networking I’m here today to speak with you. So I really do appreciate you coming in and joining us. So, let’s get started.
Because I probably have a few folks on the line that are from my organization, I want to give a shout out to people from Arris, that’s the organization that I work for. They are a global innovator of Internet protocol, video and broadband technology. And it’s a really interesting and exciting field. And it’s a new field for me because I’m new in this role as of January. I’m learning a lot about the telecommunications industry and really enjoying that. It’s very fast-paced, so actually, networking is helping me out right now as I learn about the industry and my job here with Arris. So one of the things I want to ask you about as you take a look at our learning objectives for today is I believe that it’s really important that we learn from each other. So while I will be facilitating the webinar, I’m going to be asking you to go into the questions box and be typing in comments and answers to questions that I ask you as well as questions that you might have for me. Because I believe that we can really learn from each other, grow from your ideas and your answers, as well as mine. So I really will ask that instead of taking the afternoon coffee break now, that you’ll participate by typing into the question box.
So here’s our learning objectives I’m not going to read them to you but this is what my hope is we will accomplish today during the webinar.
So, my first question for you, and if you will go into the question area and type for me and we will be able to see this, what is networking? If we are going to talk about it we need to define it. We need to give it some terminology that we understand. So would you go ahead in and tell us what you think networking is. I would love to get your feedback. So I see collaboration, building relationships, good, meeting new folks, connection from person-to-person, using relationships to help each other develop professionally, that’s great I like that. Meeting people, building professional contacts to learn and grow, absolutely. Connecting and building relationships, you guys are great, connecting to each other. Building relationships that go beyond business interactions. Developing good business partnerships, using your contacts to promote yourself or your company to others, excellent. Connecting with people to learn. So there’s a lot about learning, there’s a lot about growing, there’s a lot about building on new relationships and building existing relationships as well. Collaboration, that’s a big word today isn’t it? And an important one. So, connecting, absolutely. You guys are right on target with this. So basically, I see your words and a definition that I have here building productive relationships for business or personal purposes, and really I guess I could change that to for business and personal reasons because I network both internally in my organization, externally, professionally and personally. So think about how you can do that as we walk through talking about networking today and, oh, here is another one that I like helping others by sharing your strengths. That’s great. Visiting with people on different topics that they are interested in. See you guys have a lot of great things I hope I get to see the chat afterwards because I appreciate what you’re sharing. So I found this quote and I really like it in regard to networking. A relationship is only as strong as the two people in it. So as you mentioned a lot of you said building relationships is what networking is about. And it’s about two people. Is not just about one person. And that’s really key because I know I talked to people that are in job search mode or underemployed or unemployed and they always focused on the fact that they are networking with somebody and it’s a one-way street and it’s never a one-way street. It’s a two-way street where we can learn and grow from each other. So I really like this because that relationship will be as strong as the two people that are connected together for that networking.
So, I need some more help from you. If you will go into the question window again and you will help me out here with what is the value of networking? Why do you network? Why would you do that? Why would you spend time networking? I can tell you what I think but I know that you have some good ideas as well. What is the value of networking? Working together, sharing ideas, a wide group of people using the snowball effect, I like that. Meeting with people from other organizations so that you can gather information from them and learn from them. Great. All right I’m going to go down a little bit here because I’m still getting some of my first question. Learning from others, learning from others internally and externally, great, learning new skills, making new connections, forging professional growth opportunities, getting new ideas, becoming an effective leader, oh I like that. Getting more resources, you know one of the things that I find from other people is that it is so helpful to learn about resources that I don’t know about. To provide growth for yourself both personally and professionally, absolutely, a lot of you are saying that. Increase your self-confidence. It’s a win-win, isn’t it a win-win? Because you both are going to have an advantage from having that networking relationship. Getting different perspectives, thanks for saying that because I think that’s important because sometimes it challenges us on how we think and what we feel when we receive these people’s different perspectives from ours. It provides opportunities, absolutely. You never know what a networking relationship what advantage that’s going to bring to you and to them, and you can build trust with that other person. Great, you guys are coming up with great ideas. And I think I have most of them on my slide as well. I think you’ve got some other ones that I like, that I may be adding here. So, new information. I’m always researching and looking for new information. And why not find it through other people who have that information? Gain a benefit from their knowledge and their experience. Get those new connections that really enhance your professional and your personal life. I like the fact that it broadens my horizons and sometimes it makes me think of things that I haven’t thought of before and it really does challenge me. It enriches our lives. I don’t know about you guys, and you can tell me if you think this is true, but one of the benefits that I have received from networking is some really great friends that I’ve gotten to know either professionally or personally just through networking opportunities. I wasn’t really expecting that. I was going into networking once when I was unemployed to try to help me determine where I was going next or for information sake and I found these great friends that are my friends today and probably I hope will be forever. So, what an interesting thing that comes of networking. Maybe we have a question or problem we throw it out there to our network and people come back with answers that help us to get immediate information from around the globe even, you know, because we are so digital today and so can get to everybody so easily and quickly you can get that information. I see someone typed in in the chat, I want to bring it up that networking’s value is priceless. And I would agree with you. Thank you for saying that. Getting other people’s viewpoints. Finding out maybe a target company that you are interested in knowing about. Learning about new industry somebody just said. Your own career development, where you want to go? And what does that look like? I can find out some help about that from networking. And obviously you guys have been saying this a lot, learning and growing is really a huge piece of networking because you’re getting these perspectives, this information that you might never get if you don’t seek it out through networking.
I love this quote by Keith Ferrazzi and hopefully some of you know Keith. He’s written a couple of book. His first one, Never Eat Alone is a great book, if you have the opportunity to get it. The currency of real networking is not greed, so we are not going into this for a greedy reason, we are going in because we want to help others and if we get help back, hey that’s a great benefit as well right? So I love that quote and you may want to take a look at his book, Never Eat Alone.
So, let’s see. I want to take a moment. I want to do a poll here, don’t I, Sarah? So, Sarah, can you go ahead and launch our first poll because I want to know little bit about our audience here today. So if you guys would go ahead and answer this question, what is your level of comfort with regard to networking? Are you very uncomfortable, uncomfortable, somewhat uncomfortable, or are you comfortable with networking? Be honest. We are not going to call out anybody’s name. We can’t see your names, but we really want to know what is the overall feeling with your comfort level with networking. And if you’re uncomfortable, that’s okay. That may be why you’re on the call today so that you can gain some more information and get more comfortable. So we are going to take a look at the results of the poll. So we got very uncomfortable 11%; uncomfortable 12%; somewhat uncomfortable 54%; and comfortable 23%. So, we have a decent mix there, a little bit on the sway of the uncomfortable. So I am glad you are here today. Because I think that I can give you some tips and tricks and ideas around networking that if you try them will help you to be more comfortable with it.
We do have another poll, don’t we Sarah? So let’s launch the second poll and I want to get an answer from you on this because I think this would be helpful too. How many how many formal or informal internal or external networking events did you have on your calendar for this month? You know take a guess at it. 1 to 5, 6 to 10, 11 to 15, 16 to 20, or 20+. Informal meaning it wasn’t something that you paid money and you planned a meeting one-on-one with somebody, it might have been right off the top of the you just met somebody and said hey let’s have coffee or let’s chat for a few minutes. Informal would be a more formal event that you maybe paid money for or a business event that you went to for your business, conference or a seminar or something like that so let’s see what we have here. So 1 to 5, 78% of you, 1 to 5; 6 to 10, 16%; 11 to 15 events, 3%; 16 to 20 and 20+ 2%. So I will share with you this wasn’t one of my banner months because normally I’m probably up in the 15 to 20 range. This month I went to approximately say 10 to 12 different events for networking purposes, whether they were internal of the organization or external. So thanks for sharing that because it gives me a feel for where each of you are right now and how I can kind of help with your networking endeavors. So, finally we get to the slides since I forgot about my polls. And I would like you, if you don’t have the handout, take a piece of paper if you do have the handout next to this slide I want you to write down either a person’s name or title of a position or maybe a functional area in your organization or could be external to your organization but you want to meet somebody. You want to meet a person in that function. You want to meet a person with that title. Or maybe there is an actual specific person that you want to network with. And I want you to write down a name or two so you can start thinking about that as we go through the rest of the information today. Think about that person or that person’s name. So write that down and I’ll give you an example. In my organization, there is somebody that works with organizational development, which is a piece of training development that I haven’t had a lot of exposure to. It’s not something that I have done a lot with. And I’m interested in learning more and getting more involved in that. And I actually did a webinar internal to my company recently and I mentioned that that was the case and she actually was on the webinar which I didn’t realize at the time, and that I was intending to reach out to her to have a networking call so that I can learn more about organizational development and what she does. So she actually set up a meeting for us and it’s later this week. So that’s what I’m asking you to think about. Either an actual person, role that a person might have or a title, a position, or maybe a functional area that you want to know more about. Write that down so that we can have a commitment to coming back to that and focusing on that.
All right, so let’s see, I’m going to get back into our questions and answers again which I haven’t read all of yours out because you guys are doing such a good job of participating. So, what are some things that we need to consider when we are networking? I call them networking do’s. Things you should do when you are networking. Or another way to put it is, when you are networking, what’s important to remember? So can you get into the question and give me some idea of what you think is important? Good staying positive. Absolutely. Using eye contact, if you’re face-to-face, sometimes you may be on the phone. Following up, absolutely, being confident, having a business card or something to share with them so we can stay connected. Good. Active listening, I like that you wrote active listening not just listening so that you are engaged in your staying involved in the process. Asking questions, absolutely. The whole point is we want to learn and we want to grow from each other, so one of the best ways that you can do that, you hit the nail on the head, is to ask questions, perfect. Be approachable yourself. You know, I am taking this from a standpoint that I’m going out and I’m networking with somebody else, but somebody could be coming up to me and wanting to network, so, I need to be approachable. Being polite, absolutely, being considerate of people’s time. Think about that when you are networking. Obviously we’re going to be giving up some of our time and they are going to be giving up some of their time. So we do want to be considerate about that. Researching ahead of time so that we are prepared, absolutely. Note the business goals, be authentic, oh thank you for that, so, be yourself be real, don’t put on some façade to network with, be yourself so people are actually seeing who you are. Somebody wrote that it’s a two-way street, thank you for saying that because that is so important with this. Be willing to share as much as you are willing to receive. So we want to gain something from this relationship, but we also need to be able to give something out to the person. Listen first, you guys must have seen my slides ahead of time, you’re doing a great job. Ask for feedback, be prepared ahead of time, because when you network everything that you do shows a bit about who you are, if you’re prepared, if you ask good questions, if you research, versus if you just go in to it and don’t prepare ahead of time. That shows a bit about who you are and that person can see that about yourself. Have fun, thank you for saying have fun because I love to network and it is fun to get to know other people and learn from them. So thank you for saying that, I think that’s really important. Transparency, don’t make it all about you, absolutely. Again this is a two-way street and actually if I can, I keep the focus on the other person. And it’s going to come back to me at some point but I try to keep it on them. So good, you guys hit the nail on the head. So here are mine that I came up with. Most of which you have already said so thank you for doing that. Number one consider every opportunity as networking. You know you’re going to a barbecue, you are networking, you are learning, you are engaging, you are building relationships in your neighborhood maybe. You’re going to in the business activity or event, you have the opportunity to network so look at everything is an opportunity to network. Focus on the other person. Give them your focus and your attention. Be gracious, you know somebody had said be positive. Add value, look for how can I add value, and my brain kind of naturally goes this way, but when somebody comes up to me and they start talking, for some reason my brain starts going and I start thinking of ideas or people I can connect them to based on what they are sharing. So start to think about how can I add value to this conversation? How can I add value to this relationship? I love what someone said here, reach out to someone who looks uncomfortable networking. If you are at a big networking group, you know help somebody out that might not be as comfortable as you and that will help you to feel more comfortable as well. Have positive body language. Don’t have your arms closed and your eyes averted, but, have positive open, have an open body language so people want to approach you. All right, I’m looking at some of your answers here, and follow up. Absolutely, because I’ll ask you a question. If you are not going to follow up, what’s the point? The point of networking is to start building this relationship which is not just a one-time thing hopefully, but over time we continue to build it, so if I don’t follow-up, I just lost most of my advantage from having that networking conversation. Okay, I did actually get a question and I’m going to answer it. How do you keep people from feeling you are working the room? I think that’s a good question. And I think it’s because it’s got to be part of how you are showing yourself. So if you are being gracious, if you are being yourself, and if you are not running around and handing your business card to everybody which will be on probably the next slide that we look at, I think, and you spend a little bit of time with people, then you can move on and not be seen as working the room. And if you are just trying to hand out your business card, that’s not networking. Just getting your business card and has many hands as possible is definitely not networking.
So since you asked that question, I’m going to move to this next slide because you are leading me into that. What are some networking don’ts that we should have? What should we not do when we are networking because it’s obviously not going to be to our benefit or the other person’s benefit. So go ahead into the question area again and share with me some networking don’ts and I saw a couple earlier that went by but if you typed in an earlier type them again. So don’t talk too much, don’t ask someone to share confidential information, don’t depreciate other people, we want to appreciate them, not depreciate them because we’re having this opportunity to meet with them, share with them, learn from them, don’t make it all about you, self-promotion, this is all about me, and not what the other person shared their information. Good, this is not about gossip. We are not getting together to network to gossip. We are getting together for those reasons that we put on the value of networking slide. Don’t respond with one-word answers, you’re not helping the other person. Give some information. Don’t hand out your cards and walk away that’s not what this is all about. Don’t look at your phone the whole time. Oh, thank you for saying that. Eye contact, if you’re on a phone call with somebody, don’t be multitasking. Be focusing on that person, because they can tell, even if you are not face-to-face they can tell if you’re focusing on them or not. Don’t talk about frustrations, you know this is an opportunity to learn and share and not necessarily to go into negatives about different things. You want to stay positive about this. Don’t be needy or greedy, I like that. So, you don’t want to come to them with your hands out saying I need everything you can give me, which is either needy and/or greedy. So don’t use it is pushing products or services in somebody’s face, absolutely, thank you for saying that, because I’ve had that happen to myself. All right you’ve got some great answers there. And I think you’ve actually got most of mine as well so thank you for doing that because then I just put them up on the slide and you already done them. Don’t do all the talking. Paper the world with your information, don’t do that. If somebody requests some information with you that it’s perfectly fine to give it to them, but I don’t give something unless it’s requested of me. I’m not expecting them to give me all their contacts or all there information, that would be unfair because I’m not willing to give that to them. Don’t ask for something that you think they can give you. Because they are going to feel badly that they can’t give it to you. And if you are attending some kind of event, or function, don’t be late. I know that sounds silly, but, it actually, you know, again it says something about you. Don’t hand out your resume. Yes, absolutely, oh my gosh you guys have so many, oh don’t get drunk if you’re out an event. You’re not going to going to network very well if you are inebriated. Don’t be rude, absolutely you guys are doing great. Thank you for your comments. I appreciate them.
So I’m going to give you a couple of tools as we go through today and the first tool is an elevator speech. Now a lot of people look at an elevator speech is being something that you only use when you are unemployed, and I don’t agree. I think they always need an elevator speech to present yourself. You need like a 30-second to 1 minute introduction of yourself with your name, what’s your professional identity, what’s your experience like, maybe some of your strengths, and what are you hoping to gain from being at the event or having this conversation with this individual? So it might look something like this hi, my name is Amy Dinning I am a learning and development leader. I have worked at a variety of industries like telecommunication, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, banking and nonprofit. I think some of my strengths are my ability to gain credibility through my facilitation skills, my influencing skills and my leadership skills. And I’m here today and I’m looking meet with you and hear about what you are doing in your field which is an area that I would like to gain arm more information on. I’d love to hear more about you what you tell me about you. So that’s what I would use as an elevator speech for internally or externally if I am employed. You know if I am unemployed it might look a little bit different where I might say at the end what type of position I’m looking to find.
So they change a little bit, but I believe that everybody needs an elevator speech.
So, going to the chat box and tell me this: Do you have, oh wait I don’t think we have that, so, go in to the chat box and just type Y if you have an elevator speech, or N if you don’t have an elevator speech. Oh I got a variety here. Okay. So, this is one of those slides that you want to earmark so that you can say, hey, I need to work on getting my elevator speech down if you don’t already have one. So I have I guess and no, does that mean you want to work on it a little bit more maybe? All right so that’s a great tool to have in your toolbox for networking purposes.
So let’s talk about the process of networking and then I’m going to talk about large group networking events and one-on-one networking events. So let’s talk about the process first, which is very similar to lots of things. Making friends, establishing new business contacts, you’ve probably seen this process. You want to start by establishing a rapport with the person, so that you both feel comfortable, right? And you want to, notice the second one is listening with purpose. And a lot of you mentioned actively listening which I think is important and the point here is it’s not all about me, so I’m going to listen first. So, if I am going into that situation, I might ask the person to introduce themselves first and then I’ll listen and then I will introduce myself. But listen with purpose and make sure you really are listening. Ask insightful questions that you are going to get something. Why are you at this event? What are you trying to seek out? Make sure your questions are going to help you to do that.
Radiate credibility. I love that. So can you guys help me out with how would I radiate credibility? How do you do that in a networking event? What kinds of things help you to radiate credibility? Go in to your question box again and give me some ideas about what you think. Be truthful. Absolutely, your body language, be honest, having eye contact with somebody else is going to help. Be thoughtful, showing confidence, how you appear, how you’re dressed, being sincere, oh, your tone of voice, that’s really important because sometimes you can tell people are not credible right away by their tone of voice. Present facts without rambling. Show a genuine interest in them, that’s going to show that you are credible. Share relevant things that you know. Having some knowledge and experience that you can share is going to help as well. Your handshake, actually, good. That shows if you’re face-to-face, good. Communicate concisely. So, I am not going to make my elevator speech five minutes and put you to sleep. I want my elevator speech to be short and concise. I want my questions to be concise. I don’t want to ramble. I don’t want to go on because I am going to lose the person. Again we want this to be beneficial to both of you. Show openness when you are having this conversation with this other person. Some of the things that you mentioned with credibility would reply to showing openness at all as well. Exhibit professionalism. You know, whether I am personally networking or professionally networking, I really tried to do it professionally so that people are feeling valued. People are feeling respected. You know, it’s not about gossip like you guys mentioned earlier. So you want to be showing that and then notice that follow through is here again. It is so critical. Can I tell you circle follow through. And the reason why I say that is I’ve had many people network with me and they don’t follow up with what they say they’re going to do and I never hear from them again. And that is a lost connection. Why are you taking the time if you are not going to stay connected with me in some manner? And we’ll talk about how to do that as well. And the more credible and professional you are, the more somebody’s going to be open with you and share with you.
So let’s talk about large group networking events. This could be business oriented, this could be personal oriented. So, give me some ideas, what are some large group networking events that you have attended? Either now or in the past? What have you gone to okay, conventions, expos, Chamber of Commerce, all hands-on meeting, something at church, fundraisers, professional speakers, company functions, alumni association meeting, all staff meetings, my career transitions, I see some of my friends are on the line from my career transitions which is for the under unemployed, volunteer opportunities, absolutely, remember we said like anything is networking? Children’s school functions, sporting events, library events, great, church. So all of these things give you the opportunity to be in a large group and network. So why do you think it’s important to attend some large group networking events? Even if sometimes not the most comfortable thing in the world? What do you think? Why would I attend some large group networking events? So I can be visible, meet new people that I haven’t met yet, lots of people to practice with, thank you that’s great. Again, it’s new people it’s new groups. Stretch my horizons, absolutely. You don’t ever know you’re going to meet. It gets better with practice, that’s wonderful. So the more you practice networking the easier it gets and these provide lots of opportunities and then if you find somebody you really to connect with, you can then say hey let’s get coffee. You know and have a one-on-one meeting and then you can get deeper in that relationship. You can also watch and learn how other people are networking. Perfect, that’s great, and I like to sometimes attend meetings that I don’t normally attend so that it stretches me out of my comfort zone. So think about that.
So here are some things to think about for the how of the large group event. When you go, get ready ahead of time. Have a goal; have a plan. Look at the organization is holding the event and research them. If you can find out his attending, research those people because maybe you want to target some specific people to learn from and to get some information from or that you can share information with. If you can’t get names of people ahead of time, when you get to the event, take a look at the nametags and the organizations or the nametags in the title, even if it’s within your own business you’re not going to know everyone. So take a look at the nametags and think about who I want to focus on because you don’t in a large group, you don’t want to meet everybody. You absolutely don’t. It’s not going to be good networking. You want to focus on a few. Make sure you refine your elevator speech for that event and for the people that you’ll be meeting. Ask questions, share information because remember it is that two-way street. I want to learn but I also want to share information that might help other people that are there. And then again you know you’re going to see follow-up on my slide because I said how important it is. If I meet some people and I say that would be a really good person for me to connect with further, for example, I was just and ATD conference Association of Talent and Development, that’s my professional association, and another woman who is in a very similar role as me doing very similar things. So we said to each other, hey let’s connect after the conference so that we can share best practices and maybe help each other. So I got her business card on the back I actually wrote myself a note in a very similar role, connect with her after the conference. So that I will follow up. So I sent her a LinkedIn invitation, and I would love to have a call with her at some point in time.
So those are how to work your large group, and let’s take a look at what do I say? Oh my gosh, what do I say? It’s always hard to get started. So if you have something different than what I have on my slide here, would you type that in question window? How do you get started? I might say tell me a little bit about yourself. Or my name is Amy, what’s yours? So you want to have kind of a starter question that you can ask somebody as you go up to them to meet them. And here’s something that somebody told me. I don’t know what you guys think about this. I like the idea. Somebody said it’s good to go up to groups of three as opposed to groups of two and a group of three you’re not that, you might not be in not really deep conversation with a group of three like you might be with a group of two. So when you are in that networking group, you get your name tag and you go in, look for a group of three and kind of go up to them and if they are talking, kind of listen and in then when you get a chance say hey, my name is Amy what yours, I would like to get to know you folks a little better. So you want to have something to get started. And most people are awkward about this, so if you get it started, they’re sitting there saying oh, thank God, somebody had something to get the conversation started. So, don’t be afraid to do that, you can be helpful.
So let’s take a look at another tool. I think it’s really important to have a networking agenda. Now, most of the time I use it on a one-on-one meeting or phone call. I don’t necessarily do all of it when I’m in a large group networking. But you could do parts of this when you’re in a large group networking. So of course in the beginning you want to do introductions. Your elevator speech, have them go first and then you share your elevator speech. And you may say, well why are you here? Or why are we meeting together today? What’s the purpose what are our goals? Well my goal is and I share with you earlier that with the person that I want to network with, hey, I want to learn more about organizational development and see what I can get exposure to, from you and I would really value that from you. How about you, do you have a goal in connecting with me? So, want to share your goals so that you are focused during the time that you are having a meeting or a call. And then you want to look at asking and answering questions, getting and giving advice, asking for and making suggestions. Again, it’s a two-way street going both ways. Based on what we have talked about you have any advice for me of how I could get some more information? Is there a good book I could read or maybe a webinar I could attend on organizational development? You know that might be a question that I ask the person that I am having my meeting with. You want to look at sharing connections and sharing information with each other so that you can benefit from each other and you want to look at that and say do I know of anybody that might benefit this person? Do I know of any information that might benefit this person? I think that’s really important and then again, of course closing, thank you and follow up. I always want to thank people for their time, for their effort for being willing to connect with me and have that conversation with me. And somebody said anybody else that I recommend I talk to? Excellent question. That you may want to consider. Notice and here I have ask what I can do to help. I always ask people how can I help you at some point in time when I’m networking. Because it’s a two-way street and I want to make sure I offer that. They may have something right away that they give me and ask men or they may say you know I’m not sure yet but I will get back to you. So I want to offer that so that they know that I am valuing this and I am looking at it as a two-way street.
So let’s take a look at one-on-one meetings or calls. So you might not be able to meet them face-to-face. If you can, it’s fabulous, if you can’t, the phone call is very good as well. Same idea, have a goal. What are you trying to accomplish with maybe you met this person at a large group networking event, and now we’re going to have a meeting or call to follow up, I need to have a goal for this and hopefully they have a goal for that meeting as well. I want to research just like I did with the large group. I’m going to look into that person and I’m going to prepare some questions that I want to ask. So how would I research that person? What are some ways I can get some information about the person I am networking with? Can you go into your question area and share some ideas there of how I can research the person I’m going to meet with? Oh, number one, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, website, Twitter, absolutely. So you want to find out information ahead of time so that you can be prepared to talk to that person and don’t be afraid to bring up wow, I saw that you won an award that you put on your LinkedIn profile, that was really awesome, tell me some more about that. Because everybody knows their information is out there today and they are not going to get spooked by you seeing that. Before I have a meeting or call, I send a quick agenda like this slide previous to this so that if the person is not as accomplished at networking, they kind of have an idea of what we are going to be doing in the time that we are going to be meeting. And I usually do that for about 30 minutes. I try not to do them longer than 30 minutes so that I’m not taking up a lot of someone’s time. And I also send a little bit of information on me. Maybe a profile or a bio, but not a full blown, I don’t send my resume, never. Just a little bit of information so they know who I am, if they don’t know who I am when I’m having this call. You want to refine your elevator speech again considering the person you’re going to be meeting with. Follow your agenda. Don’t go longer than the time that you have asked for if you have asked for the meeting. And then follow up. And there’s something I want to mention here with the follow-up. That is a networking newsletter. I can’t take total credit for this idea because it’s not mine, Ford Myers, a friend of mine who is a career consultant wrote a book, Get the Job You Want Even When No One is Hiring. This was an idea in his book. And it’s for unemployed, but I use it even when I am employed. Stay in touch with your network. Every so often, maybe share a quick email. You can do it as a group but I would blind copy if you do it as a group. Or do it individually and just say hey this is what I’m up to, what are you up to? Here’s how I can support you. Here are some ways that you can help me. And that keeps you current in their mind and also hopefully has some response back and you can find out what’s happening with people in your network. So think about the idea of a networking newsletter.
Here are some ideas, and I know you had typed a couple of questions that you wanted to ask as well in the question box. Here are some ideas now your question is going to be based on what you’re hoping to gain from this networking contact. So it could be if I want to learn about organizational development, how do you get started, how can I get more information, how can I learn about it, is there education I could pursue? But maybe that’s not what you want to know about, so your questions are going to be different. They’re going to be based on whatever it is that you are looking to find out from networking contacts. I do love the last one. I think that pretty much applies to anybody. Do you have any advice or suggestions for me based on what we’ve discussed today in our 30 minute call or 30 minute meeting? Because people like to always give advice and you might get some good thoughts that you haven’t thought about, some good ideas and things you haven’t pursued. So I love this quote that I found out again on the Internet because it is important when you’re networking to be the type of person you want to meet. You don’t want to be somebody that’s going to be overbearing. You don’t want to be someone who is going to monopolize like we talked about before. It makes people uncomfortable networking with you. So practice on your friends, practice on your family, practice on your dog. Practice, just so you feel more comfortable as many of you said before you didn’t feel comfortable. The more networking you do the more you will feel comfortable. I can promise you that because I feel much more comfortable now than I did in the past.
Some follow-up tools that I want to mention. If you have a call, meeting, one-on-one with somebody that you share information, share a thank you email or a thank you note. It’s so nice to get a thank you note, actually hand written today because nobody does it anymore. But at least say thank you somehow to the person who is giving you some of their time. You’ve given some of your time. It makes them feel valued. It makes them feel like you felt the time was worthwhile. Send a personalized LinkedIn invitation, and if you don’t know what I mean by that don’t send I want to connect with you on LinkedIn. And how you do that go out to the profile click that you want to connect and that is going to come up with how do you know them and that’s for you can personalize it. Hi, Amy, I was on your webinar today and I would like to connect with you on LinkedIn would be great versus if I get 50 of you sending I want to connect with you on LinkedIn and I don’t know how I know you. So people are cautious sometimes about who they connect with. And therefore, if you personalize it, they remember who you are and know how you know each other and they are more willing to accept your connection. So whenever you are out on LinkedIn personalize those invitations. If you’re going to send any information that you said you were going to send, make sure that you do that. If you said you’re going to make a connection for somebody, make sure that you do that. Maybe you are introducing them to somebody else through email. Go ahead and make that connection for them. And then, every so often, and I say people that are in job search, you may want to do it every other month, networking newsletter. If you’ve got a job, maybe you do it every six months to just remind people where you’re at, what you are doing, what you are looking into, what you’re interested in, how they can help you, and how you can help them.
Okay, so before I go to my next slide, I want to ask you a question. And will you type this in the chat window or the question window? So what are you going to do with what you’ve learned today thus far? What are you going to do, because if you don’t do anything with this, nothing is going to change with regard to your networking. So give me some ideas of some things you’re going to do and I’m actually going to give you an action plan that I would like you to think about going forward from here. So let’s see, network in your organization, work on your elevator speech, create your elevator speech, look at the newsletter idea, be approachable, refine your networking, attend more events, that’s your practice right there is to attend more events. Make sure that you are networking on a regular basis and that you have it on your calendar. Work on your LinkedIn profile. If you are within your organization, and you are internally networking, it’s still important to have that LinkedIn profile, whether you are employed or unemployed or underemployed, that LinkedIn profile is crucial. Reconnect with some of your connections. Think about all you can learn internally from networking with people that you know inside of your organization. Or people that you do not yet know. I’m doing a lot of that to learn more about the telecommunications industry right now. Meeting with people, asking a lot of questions and doing a lot a lot of listening. Think of a list of people you want to network with. Good, you guys are great, I hope you’re writing these down as well as typing them in the question box. So here is my action plan for you. And that is, think of two areas of networking, anything that we talked about today where you want to improve your skills and your confidence. How will you go about improving in these areas? What will you do to commit to improving your confidence in networking? Choose one event that you will attend within the next month and put it on your calendar. Sign up today. Think of names of people, and you wrote down somebody earlier or maybe it was a role that you want to network with and schedule time to contact them and network with them. To take your piece of paper or your handout and quickly and I’m going to give you a minute here identify these two areas how are you going to improve, what are you going to do to improve your confidence, picking event, think of a person, and write that down really quickly so that you can have an action plan to go from here. All right, and I do see a question that I’m going to actually answer because I figured that this would come up. Some going to answer this Sarah, and then I’ll give it back over to you. And that is suggestion for introverts on how to initiate a conversation with a group of people. Because it is hard to go up, right? So again, I would go up to a group of three not a group of two. A group of three or more I would say, and I would go up and I would first you now stand there, and I wouldn’t interrupt. And when there’s a break in the conversation I would just say hi, my name is Amy, I’d love to meet each of you. And then let them introduce themselves and then you’re part of the group. But it does require you going up to them and I know sometimes as an introvert that is hard. So if there is somebody you know at a networking event, take them with you. The two of you go up to people and network, and sometimes it makes it a lot more comfortable. So while you are writing your action plan I am actually going to take this back and send it over to Sarah so she can pull it back together and we can do some question and answers.
SARAH: All right, perfect, thank you, Amy, so much. Yes we have about five minutes for that live Q&A so, attendees, why don’t you to go ahead and send those questions now. And while we wait just I’m just going to share a little bit about how you can keep in touch. Amy’s contact information is on that screen as well as her LinkedIn profile and Amy’s LinkedIn profile is going to be her preferred communication. So go ahead and just send her one of those invitations after the session. And you could always connect with HRDQU through all the social media channels. And don’t forget to register for our weekly webinar Wednesdays at HRDQU.com. All right, so why don’t we go ahead and get started on those questions.
Our first question is coming from Stacy: How do you find places to network?
AMY: As I said earlier, I would look at anything as an opportunity to network. If I’m going to a neighborhood barbecue, like I am at my townhouse neighborhood soon, I look at that as an opportunity to network. Your alumni association, get involved in professional associations, and then within your industry and within your company, look at business events that are occurring. Anytime you’re getting together with other people, even if you are getting together for a team meeting look at that as an opportunity to practice networking and to network and to learn. So there are plentiful, you know church, kids events, outside of work as well as inside of work. I look at almost anything. I mean I talk to people in the grocery store a lot of times so, you may not be like me but I’m a little bit crazy that way. So I hope that gives you some ideas.
SARAH: All right, perfect, thank you. And our next question is coming from Darnell: Can you redefine an elevator speech?
AMY: An elevator speech is really just an intro of who you are and a little bit about you so if you are at a networking event and you are currently employed it’s really just telling a little bit about who you are and what you do and where you’ve been. If you’re at a networking event and you are unemployed it’s a little bit about who you are, where you’ve been, and what you want to do. What you are looking to move toward. But it’s always good to include what are you looking for in talking to that person. I’d like to know more about you and your industry. I’d like to know more about you and your role. So something along those lines at the end but it’s really an intro, a brief intro and it’s a concise, focused intro.
SARAH: All right, perfect, thank you. And it looks like our next question is coming from David: How many social media networking outlets you suggest participating in?
AMY: Oh, that’s a great question. You know, it really depends on you, the person. I assume you’re talking about things like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. I am very, very involved in LinkedIn. I’m on LinkedIn multiple times a day. I’m asking questions of people to get information. I’m looking at what’s posted so I can learn. I am on Twitter. I’m not very active on Twitter, and I’m actually not on Facebook, which a lot of people think I’m weird because of that. But I purposely kind of have my professional presence out there on LinkedIn as opposed to, I look at Facebook as being a more personal route to go. Although, you can use it as you want. I focused on those two. Twitter a little bit and LinkedIn, because it is a lot. It takes a lot of time to stay connected to find connections, to read information, to share information, so it’s up to you but, I wouldn’t overwhelm you with too many ways to do that.
SARAH: All right, great, thanks. I think we probably just have time for just one more question. And that one is coming from Darcy: Is there a way to make an elevator speech sound a little less formal?
AMY: I think it’s based on, it’s got to be based on you and your tone of voice and who you are, so you want you to come out of, when you’re introducing yourself you want them to hear you. You don’t want it to be rehearsed. You don’t to have it written down, so why your tone of voice to be conversational, you know, hi, my name is Amy, I’d love to hear more about you. I usually let them know first, and I would say well, my background is in learning and development, I’ve been in it for a number of years, and these various industries, here are some things that I’ve done in those industries, and here are some things I’m interested about and that’s why I am here. So if you make it conversational, and I change it every time. I don’t say the exact same thing every time. But you don’t want it to sound rehearsed and like you are reading it. That really is important.
SARAH: All right perfect, thank you so much. And when you just like to add any final thoughts before I go ahead and wrap up the session?
AMY: Sure, first of all thank you all for being here today. It was a pleasure spending time with you. Thank you so much for all of your ideas that you are typing in. I didn’t get to read them all because they were all great and there were a lot of them. But here is my encouragement to you. Networking is a life skill. It is important, it’s critical, just do it. Try it out. You will be successful at it. You have to practice it and you want to go, and you want to try, and so those of you that are more uncomfortable, like I said take somebody with you. Grab a friend and say hey let’s go to this event together. Or meet one person and then go around and network with them to make it a little bit more comfortable for you. So I hope that you found value in today, and please send me a personalized LinkedIn connection I’d love to connect with you. Thank you so much, Sarah for having me.
SARAH: All right, great, Amy, thank you again so much. And just for the attendees, if we didn’t get time to answer your question, you will receive an email response probably mid to late next week. So we appreciate your time, and we hope you found today’s webinar informative. Thank you.
Everybody has heard it, “it’s not what you know, but who you know!” And how networking can further our relationships with others. But have you ever stopped to think about your own network, especially your internal network, and how it can be your most effective tool yet.
Networking is a key-life skill whether you are employed inside of a company, running your own company, looking for a new position, and/or seeking new information or knowledge. Many people are comfortable with networking and understand how to network – but some people are not. We can all use practice and tips on how to best make networking work for you and the other person. Please join us for this interactive session so you can further enhance your networking skills and knowledge.
Participants Will Learn
- You will develop an understanding of the value and benefit of networking You will gain insight and skills in effective networking
- You will gain confidence in his/her networking abilities
- You will learn about various forms of networking
Who Should Attend
- Human resources professionals and consultants
- Training and development managers and directors
- OD professionals
- Managers and executives
- Training consultants
Amy Dinning is a Learning and Development Manager of ARRIS, with extensive experience working with all organizational levels setting the strategy, creating, promoting, and delivering talent, leadership and learning solutions designed to support the organization’s business plan. Amy is passionate about creating an interactive and enjoyable environment that supports learning and growth.
She created and is the Chief Facilitator of Jump Start Your Job Search Workshops offered twice/year for the last 6 years. She serves as co-lead of the ATD Leadership & Organizational Development Special Interest Group, and is a Board Member and Programming Director for My Career Transitions networking group. Amy has a Master of Education degree in Instructional Systems and Design from Penn State University. Her undergraduate degree is a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Grove City College.