“A good example is the best sermon.”
— Benjamin Franklin
Excuses are lies we tell others (and ourselves) when we don’t want to do something. Here are eight common lies people use about career networking.
- “I’m not ready.” – If you are a person of good character and have a sense of who you are and where you are going with your life and career, then you ARE ready. All you need is practice and maybe a little coaching. Networking is its own practice field.
- “I don’t have time.” – This is an unfortunate misconception. The truth is, if you’re busy you don’t have enough time NOT to network. Networking is a way to leverage time. Networking is one of the most important career advancing activities available to you.
- “My job doesn’t require networking.” – No matter what job you have, I would challenge that. Networking helps build influence. Influence matters in every job and every career field. But, even if you’re right, what about your next job?
- “I’ll wait a few years.” – Someone once said, “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” This is true for networking.
- “I don’t like it.” – Why not? Most people who say this are simply afraid of something. Find out what you’re afraid of. Then, overcome your fear with a plan, some guidance and practice.
- “I’m not very good at it.” — Maybe not. But, anyone can get better. You’ll be bad before your good and good before you’re great. To improve, get coaching and get in the game.
- “I tried once and it didn’t work.” – Like anything worthwhile, networking is a long-term investment in your future.
- “I networked a lot and got nothing out of it.” – Why not? Maybe you need help with your interpersonal skills. Maybe you have the wrong networking approach or plan. Maybe you’re attending the wrong networking events. Maybe you’re getting value that you can’t yet see. Figure out what is wrong and try something else.
“Opportunities come NOT from people you know but,
from people who know, like and trust you AND most importantly, who they know.”
Even though I’ve accidentally made important business connections, I believe my career would be much further along had I been more committed to intentional and strategic networking. Do you have a networking plan? Are you working your plan? If not, maybe you need a few reminders about the reasons for networking activities and events.
- Potential clients – Meet people who are not in your contact database.
- Leads – Get leads by networking and getting good at asking, “Who do you know that needs _________?”
- Low-hanging fruit – People who network are ready for something or someone. That something might be your product/service. That someone might be YOU! Low-hanging fruit is all about timing.
- Practice – An opportunity to sharpen your interpersonal skills and rehearse delivery of your message.
- Strategic alliances – Find people who talk to your clients. Then explore how you might help each other.
- Visibility – Not everyone has heard of you, your company or your product or service. Wouldn’t you like to be the first person people think of?
- Influence – Build trust to expand your circle of influence. People want to follow those they know and trust. Less than 10% of the message is the words. Face-to-face communication has more potential to build trust than email, newsletters, phone calls and social media.
- Advantage – Your competition is networking. If you aren’t and they are, who has the advantage?
- Leverage – Save time. Meet many people at one event.
- Opportunities – Network to discover unique opportunities in areas like public speaking or community service. How often does that happen by reading a phone script or sending an email message?
- Lead by example – As a leader, set a positive example for others by engaging in networking.
- Fun! – Networking is more fun than spending 8 hours at your desk (even for an introvert like me.)
Life and career success is simply doing the right things, at the right time and for the right reasons. Networking is one of those things.
Who Do You Inspire? How did you discover your hero status? Did someone write a song about it?
Did you ever know that you’re my hero,
and everything I would like to be?
I can fly higher than an eagle,
’cause you are the wind beneath my wings.
from “Wind Beneath My Wings” by Jeff Silbar and Larry Henley, 1982.
If you’re a child’s hero, perhaps you noticed how they mimicked your behaviors or repeated your favorite phrases. Maybe they liked your activities just because of you.
I remember my brothers and me begging to shave like our Grandfather. As one would expect of someone who is both hero and leader, “Gramps” obliged our fantasies, teaching us the fine points of shaving years before we had whiskers. We learned to smear shaving cream all over our faces and everywhere else, for that matter. Then, carefully “scrape it off” with bladeless razors. The razor worked great – no more whiskers! This ritual made every visit special. Even at my age today, I’d give anything to have my hero back for one more shave.
Young or old, family or not, who calls you “hero”? Who “worships the ground you walk on?” Most importantly, who are you teaching to shave?