All about Networking
A friend of mine and I were having coffee.
She was about to quit her job and was sharing her story: “The Vice President of the company has done a lot for me. I was out of a job and out of hope when he approached his senior management and created a designation that never existed before – just for me. He convinced them and hired me here.”
I was baffled by the fact that someone could just create an opening that did not exist before. Fast forward few years, I was contacted by a recruiter on LinkedIn for a job that was not advertised on the company website. Fast forward few more years, I realised that this is not unusual. 60 – 70% of jobs are never advertised. As surprising as it sounds, it is true.
As it turns out, there is a way to access this “hidden” market – networking! A lot of importance is given to this aspect at Cass and as part of this, Mr Will Kintish was invited for a session. Of the many things learnt during this session, here are the ones that I left the room thinking about:
Networking is a gradual process.
It organically grows over time and we need to be patient for at least eight-nine months. There are three phases:
First – knowing. A good introduction plays crucial part (I talk more about this in my third point).
Second – liking. If I am not sending out good vibes, the other person is neither going to want to spend further time with me, nor is going to be open to listening me.
Third – trusting. In Amy Rees Anderson’s words, “trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair.” The best way to build trust in professional relationships is by being reliable.
Taking the anxiety out when at an event full of unknown people.
It is quite natural to be nervous and confused while attending a networking event. Keep in mind this simple three step process for approaching this kind of situation comfortably:
First – Preparing and planning. When planned and prepared for attending any event, one feels far more comfortable, stays in control and enjoys the event. It is helpful to consider these seven key words while accepting any invitation: Who? What? Where? When? How? Which? Why?
Second – working the room. Every room has:
- Individuals – they don’t know anyone and don’t know how to break the ice. They are praying for someone to talk to them.
- Open couples and trios – feel free to go over and join them – they want to meet you like you want to meet them.
- Closed couples and trios – their body language is saying we are comfortable as we are for the moment but come back later.
- Bigger groups – only enter when you know someone.
- Rude people – don’t give them a second though, just move on.
Knowing this structure helped me better understand my audience and know where I will have higher chance of being welcomed.
For this, exchanging business card and writing down details on it is a good way to remember the details and not miss out on following up.
How to introduce yourself effectively?
Introduction can be broken into four parts:
First – name. Repeating the name “I am Sushmita. Sushmita Nad” helps the other person remember it, while creating an effect.
Second – title. Saying what defines me, for example “I am a recruiter,” will help lead to a conversation post-introduction.
Third – what problems do I address? Your job title might not be very clear or it might mean different things to different people. Adding little description like “I like to find people and then help them find what they want” will serve as ice breaker.
Fourth – prompt. Everyone’s favourite topic is themselves! Ending the introduction with “tell me about yourself” and taking genuine interest in the answer opens the person up for further conversation.
It was helpful to know that networking can be broken down to such small yet effective steps. Now, it is time to work on these and inculcate them.
Sushmita Nad, Full-time MBA (2020)