Whether you’re actively in career transition, or you’re eager to advance your current career, you understand that networking is critical to your career success. You attend networking events, use LinkedIn, and even ask others for help, but your networking is not working. Here are 3 reasons why:
1. You lack a networking strategy.
Networking without a plan is a great way to waste time and experience frustration. Before you begin networking, clarify your specific goal(s). Do you want to learn about a particular target company? Are you interested in meeting other executives with similar interests? Are you looking for contacts in a new industry?
In advance of any networking activity, clearly define your questions. Then focus your networking efforts on finding the answers. Strategically seek out contacts with the potential to help you so that you don’t waste time. Without a clear plan, you may have some nice conversations, but you won’t achieve your specific goals.
2. Your message is unclear.
One of the greatest challenges facing networkers is lack of a clear message. If you cannot clearly and succinctly introduce yourself and define your goals, even the most motivated networkers will be unable to help you. They may find you charming or interesting, but they won’t understand your needs and how to meet them.
The term “elevator pitch” is highly overused, but the concept is critical. To successfully achieve your networking goals, you need a focused introduction that clearly captures who you are and why you’re there. Practice this before each networking encounter to ensure that you’re prepared for the discussion.
3. You’re too impatient.
As an accomplished executive, you’re used to getting results. When you network, you expect to see immediate rewards. Unfortunately, networking doesn’t work that way. It’s not sufficient to engage in one or two discussions with someone. To experience the benefits of networking, you need to invest in mutually beneficial relationships.
This is why it’s critical to cultivate your network before you need help. Offering your support and building trust with others establishes a strong foundation upon which to build when you have specific needs. Attempting to shortcut the process will only frustrate you and your contacts.
We would love for you to share in the comments what you hope to gain from your upcoming networking events?