NETWORKING 101


I have a hunch that very few people understand what it is that i do when I’m working. For example, a co-worker once described it as direct and indirect marketing. I suppose that made sense to him when he said it, but it didn’t make any sense for me. I countered by telling him and his client that that was too academic. “I just talk to people,” I said.

On another occasion, I was accused of being psychic to root those jobs out of the labour market.

“Are you sure you don’t mean ‘psycho?’”  I said.

So everyone has a different idea about networking – and when I speak to people, such as successful people who sell mutual funds for a living, I find that I hardly have all the answers. What I do know, however, is  that effective networking can help you land a job if you are unemployed, and if you do all the things that you’re supposed to do along with it.

Probably the best way to describe what networking is would be to describe what it’s not.  Here are a few things that networking is not, and if you don’t do them you might find yourself in a tax bracket.

  • Networking is not seeing how many business cards you can collect. It’s about building relationships.
  • It is not demanding others’ cards. That’s breaking down relationships
  • It’s not about telling others how great you are. You build a better relationship if you listen more than talking.
  • It’s not about expecting positive results immediately, because relationships take time.
  • Don’t tell people what you do. That’s boring. Tell them what you did. That’s a story, and it’s interesting.

In short, the best networkers put themselves in a position of being helpful to others, to give referrals to others, and by the rules of Karma, it will ultimately come back to you. If uou don’t do the above, you’ll be paying taxes in no time.

Here’s an example. I have been working with a young person with a sometimes debilitating autoimmune condition. She also found herself earning a diploma in Interior Design. I knew nothing about interior design, and I know next to nothing now. So I helped her get a job in a furniture store.

This sis not, however, what she was trained to do. She could design interiors, use AutoCAD, and actually see differences in colours. More importantly, she had passion for what she could do, and humping couches and oak tables was breaking her down.

I attended a networking event at 7:00 AM at the Vancouver Board of Trade. There, I met a manager from one of those self storage places. I used to use a self-storage place when I was an archaeologist. I stored tons of soil samples in them.  I also used a freezing storage place to store dead road kill as I worked on a skeletal reference collection.

“Nick,” I asked. “Who are your biggest customers?”

“Home stagers and interior designers,” he said.

How the secret is out. I always believed the Home and Garden Channel. I believed them when they said to paint over veneer panelling, and I believed them when they said they shopped for new baubles when they stage a house. Now L learn, as I strip the paint from the panels, that they only buy that junk once, then they store it.

I told Nick about my client, and asked him if he could introduce me to an interior designer. Within a week, a real live publishing authority on Feng Shui linked up with me on Linked In. I was able to introduce him to my client, and now they are working as a partnership.

I tried that story on a networking  meeting the other day. I’ll see what might come of that, because networking takes time.

 

Mike Broderick is an Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he finds employment for people with physical disabilities. Part of this work means affiliation with the Vancouver Board of Trade where he is a member of the Ambassador Club, the Burnaby Board of Trade where he is a member of the Labour Task Force, the Tri Cities Chamber of Commerce where he is an active member of the 10X10 initiative, and the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce. He does some work as a field Archaeologist and is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to alive magazine in Port Coquitlam. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at michaelb@neilsquire.ca. or at 604-464-4195.  If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates When he is not doing all this he lives in Port Coquitlam with his partner Cecelia.

 

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6 Responses to “NETWORKING 101”

  1. Sharon Says:

    Excellent info told with humor. Great job! Congrats on getting that young lady a job in her field.

  2. Karen Bain Says:

    Well written. Love your message. Thanks, KB

  3. Carla McNeil, Social Media Coach & Speaker Says:

    Well Done Mike!

    Networking sometimes just slips under the radar when it comes to the effectiveness of it!

    Well done putting the two together, both of them are the better because they know you and you are so willing to share!

    Just imagine where that young lady would be, slogging it out in a furniture store, if you hadn’t put two and two together!

  4. Valentina@baby quilts Says:

    Good post Mike, more so that it shows that networking is not only for one’s personal benefit but it can benefit others too.

  5. Bob Lee Says:

    Wow. This tells me that I’m a Networker. Far out!
    First time I’ve had a title other than ass hole.

  6. Lesley from lesley writes Says:

    Great post, really enjoyed it. I was in BNI for many years and they teach ‘givers gain’. It is very true.
    I loved the story aspect of your post, I wish more information on the web was delivered that way, its easier to read and much more memorable, also it’s weird but it feels more as if we’ve met. Do you know what I mean?

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