Networking the Natural Way

6 11 2010

The classic approach to networking is to call people you know, or work your LinkedIn network, and try to make connections at companies of interest. While this is great advice in theory, most job seekers, based on my experience, are not comfortable with this direct approach.

So, I have been coaching job seekers to network the “Natural Way” – focus on meeting people wherever they are – at the gym, the park, the bowling alley, their kids’ school, the sports field, etc., and instead of having an agenda of gaining help with their job search, focus on getting to know people as you would any other time in your life. Build relationships by taking a genuine interest in others, and always look for ways to help others.

Replace the “Elevator Speech” with the “Conversation Starter”.  Ask genuine questions about the other person to build a rapport instead of directing at them a 60-90 second monologue about yourself.

The more people you know, and the more good you do, the more good things will happen.  And, you might meet some really wonderful people with whom you become real friends!

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