The benefits of business networking are invaluable. When you meet new people, you learn interesting ideas, build relationships outside your immediate circle, and create an environment that cultivates new opportunities. But, many people, particularly those who consider themselves introverts, find initiating conversations with strangers to be awkward and uncomfortable. In the past, I’ve addressed this in several posts including this one: Introverts can be great networkers too! Here are three more ideas to help get the dialogue going. Continue reading
Like it or not, networking is critical to your career success. The ability to develop and maintain contacts and personal connections with a variety of people leads to increased business opportunities, more job possibilities and long-term relationships. But … it comes easier to some than others. As an extrovert myself, I find it fairly easy to attend events, initiate conversations, and keep the dialogues and relationships going. But I am very aware that there are many among us who dread the thought of networking!
Which is why I found myself very interested in a conversation I happened to have last week with a professional colleague. Somewhere in our exchange, she confided to me that she’s an introvert. Surprised, I uttered the first thought that came to my mind. “You’re such a good networker, I never would have thought you to be an introvert,” I exclaimed. “It’s true,” she said. “I loathe talking to strangers, and to be perfectly honest, I don’t like being in groups of people either.” As I stared at her with raised eyebrows, she continued on to tell me how she has found ways to network that fit her style as an introvert. So for those amongst you who find yourself in the same dilemma, I thought you might want to hear about two specific things she does to overcome her natural aversion to networking.
- When she goes to events, she focuses on individuals rather than groups. By seeking to have a few meaningful one-on-one conversations rather than interacting with groups of people, she’s able to make networking fit her introverted style.
- Because she’s naturally shy, she uses LinkedIn to initiate or continue relationships. If there is someone she wants to connect with, she looks them up on LinkedIn and sends them a connection request, saying a little bit about herself, and if applicable, how they met or know each other. Getting things started online is not as stressful as face-to-face.
So if you’re someone who dislikes the traditional definition of networking (or even if you’re not), what are some of your ideas to get past the fear and aversion and make it work for you and your career? We all want to know!
This eye-opening YouTube video was recommended to me by an online colleague, and it poses the question – is social media a fad? My take: you absolutely MUST watch this video! It doesn’t matter whether you are a leader in a large company, a start-up entrepreneur, or somewhere in between, you owe it to yourself and the continued success of your organization to do so. In less than five minutes, Erik Qualman will give you a perspective on social media that you may have never considered before.
So now you’ve watched the video, and you probably also know that the focus in my professional practice is turning managers into leaders. The question just begging to be asked is: what are you doing as a leader to harness the power of social media? There is clearly a fundamental shift in the way people are communicating with one another, and it has enormous implications for how you should be recruiting, motivating and leading your people. And if you go beyond your department and look at the long-term success of your organization, social media is changing how your clients and customers select and buy your services and products. What are you doing to keep up with them?
I don’t know if you caught all the specific statistics in the video, but this is not just a “young people” thing — social media users are not just the Millennial generation! This wave is coming fast and furious. It’s not a small rapid in the river or a little wave on the beach; this is a tsunami that is coming stronger and faster than you might realize. And it’s coming right at you! Tell me … what are you doing as a leader in your organization to keep up with your employees and your customers?
Okay folks, I’ve entered the 21st century!
Since 2002, I’ve issued Merge’s Monthly Mega Minute — a bite-sized, yet substantial and practical, nugget of information that you can use immediately to enhance your professional and personal success. And you, my clients and colleagues have told me that you have found it useful and valuable. In fact, I’m proud to say that we have almost 7,000 subscribers in 23 countries. However, as the years have gone by, spam has become a growing problem, and many of you have written and called to let me know that your organizations’ spam filters are preventing you from getting the Mega Minute. So the hard-working folks on my team put their thinking caps on and decided that the way to solve this problem is to offer you choices – several in fact – in how you can continue to receive timely valuable information to help you in your day-to-day leadership and workplace communication challenges. So read on! Continue reading