My career in technology

Recently I have been attending a number of networking events, like the upcoming BridgeATX event on Thursday evening (tickets still available!).

As a normally shy person (or perhaps I should say “abnormally” shy), networking has been very difficult for me to get into, and is one of the areas that, over the years, I have been very lax about making happen, something I believe is one of the primary things that has been detrimental to my career.

There are two difficulties I have noticed about networking events.

First, it can be hard, walking into an event, to get started in conversation with other people, particularly if they are already involved in a conversation with someone else.  This is particularly difficult for someone who is shy.

Second, once you do manage to get into conversation with someone, eventually, the conversation does have to come to an end, and then you are once again on the outside of everyone else’s conversations, looking awkwardly in and trying to find some way back into conversation.

There is actually a single solution to both problems.

Last week, at the LPJC meeting, the speaker was Angela Loeb.  In her presentation about successful networking, she talked about (among other things) the “Host vs Guest Mentality”.  Success in networking, in her view (and mine), is thinking more about what you can do for others, not about what others can do for you.

With this in mind, the solution becomes self-evident.  While you are involved in conversation, keep an eye out for people looking to join a conversation, and then invite them in!  A fresh flow of new and interesting people can help keep the conversation flowing indefinitely, preventing you from ending up on the outside looking in.  As an added bonus, you can introduce those in your circle to the newcomer, reinforcing your memory of names, fields and interesting characteristics.

Invite someone into an ongoing conversation today, and ask them about themselves to keep the ball rolling.

Jim Adcock makes a living as a SharePoint Administrator, and makes a difference as Vice President of Launch Pad Job Club, an organization in Austin, Texas, whose mission is help people who have lost their jobs to get the skills they need to land their next job, and to help them cope with the interim between jobs. Check out his career-related posts or check out some of the other content on the site.

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Comments on: "A Tip For Networking Successfully" (14)

  1. Marc Miller said:

    Jim,

    I network for a hobby. I ALWAYS focus on what I can do for you versus what you can do for me. Even in trying times like when I have been unemployed this has kept me from appearing needy and it has always paid off. Now the payoff may well be years down the road but every good act creates a positive ripple and that may well come back when you least expect it.

    Marc

    • Jim Adcock said:

      I know Marc, he’s in my network and a board member of LPJC. He’s very interesting to talk to, and a very nice guy. Thanks for all that you do to make LPJC work!

  2. I love Angela’s Guest vs. Host Mentality. I believe that, for a job seeker, one of the best ways to find work is to help others find work. Both of these flow from the golden rule.

    Brian Massey
    http://marketformebook.com

    • Jim Adcock said:

      Thanks Brian! I’ll be reviewing Brian’s book, The Market For Me, in an upcoming post.

  3. Jim,

    Thanks for turning the switch back on for me. While as you say, this may seem self-evident, looking to invite others into the conversation is really an excellent way to propagate the “network” effect for everyone.

    John

  4. Hey Jim –

    Thanks so much for spreading the word about my event! I’m so glad that you’ve found a way to get into the spirit of things.

    It was so much fun to watch you connect people last night. The pure joy on your face was wonderful.. You were so excited to see that 30 minutes after you connected two people they were still enthralled in a great conversation.

    I like my event because so far everyone has been so warm and welcoming to everyone else. No one is in for a high pressure sale. Everyone is just there to meet some great people and go home with a few new contacts.

    Keep up the great work and I’ll see you out and about soon!

    Kim

    • Kim –

      I’m more than happy to keep your events on people’s radar, since you do such a great job in organizing the events and attracting such interesting people to them!

      I feel strongly that personal connections are really essential for everyone’s careers – ESPECIALLY for people who don’t think so (aka me six months ago), and I have already seen more interest from employers as a result.

      But here is what I am finding to be the biggest benefit of all: making acquaintences who, with time, attention and care, might become good friends in the years to come – people whom I otherwise might not have met! I started networking to help kick my career back into gear, but the people I have met along the way have been wonderful and interesting. I have a feeling that a number of them are going to become very good friends in the years ahead.

      Thanks for all that you are doing to help connect people!

  5. Jim,

    This is great advice you’ve shared and I agree with Marc. Meet the needs of others and the relationships begin to take hold.

    Quite by accident, I found myself doing this at a recent Metropolitan breakfast club event. I had arrived early with a friend so it was very natural to invite people into the conversations as they arrived especially because we were near the coffee pot!

    Regards,
    Alan

  6. SergioP said:

    Hi Jim,

    Great advice here. I’m actually writing a story for making networking connections pay off and I found this article a very good read and it allowed for me to piece the story from a different angle too.

    Thanks,
    Sergio

  7. […] may never germinate, or finding prospects to sell your wares to.  While I’ve given tips on networking tactics, Tim’s presentation was more about strategy, and applying that strategy, primarily focused […]

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