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Tag Archives: Networking
I was recently featured as a guest blogger on the AICPA website.
I used to be afraid of networking. As an avowed introvert with a moderate case of shyness, too often I would pass up opportunities to meet and connect with people. Much later in life I would discover that networking was an acquired skill and was well within my reach. I let go of my fear of rejection when I realized that networking was not about me, but was about building relationships and finding ways to be helpful to others. I can do that. You can too.
Read the entire article at the AICPA Insights Blog
There is always an element of serendipity to success. You have to be in the right place at the right time when the right opportunity comes along. However, to be successful in the modern corporate world you need more than just luck. You have to get three things right:
- You have to do good work.
- You have to be doing the right work.
- You have to be visible — people have to know about you.
Inside networking is critical in all three areas.
How visible are you at work? Chances are good that you’re making one of most common career mistakes there is — pouring a disproportionate about of effort into doing good work and not taking enough time to get to know other people.
I frequently give talks on careers and networking, and I’ve found many people fail to recognize one of the most powerful opportunities for networking that exists: networking within their own companies.
This is like wearing a cloak of invisibility.
Networking inside your company is some of the most important groundwork that you can do — and not just for yourself. Building a web of strong relationships up, down, and across your organization is invaluable for any projects and tasks that you could hope to accomplish, especially inside large organizations.
There’s a myth out there that extraverts make better networkers. (In fact, there’s a lot of myths out there about introverts and extraverts but lo, I digress.) The ‘extraverts-make-better-networkers’ myth takes on various forms, including one of my favorites: ‘to be a better networker, just be more extraverted.’
Networking skills and a preference for introversion or extraversion are independent concepts. One does not imply the other. Networking skills are social skills, and social skills are learned.
Think back to the last time you were at a wedding — or any event with a dance floor. There was no shortage of well-meaning people encouraging the wallflowers, “Come on … get out on the dance floor … it’ll be fun … you’ll have a good time.”
In our Western culture we just assume that everyone can dance. But when you look at the people on the dance floor you will see a wide spectrum of skill. There will be some who are excellent dancers, with a total command of their body and the room.
At the other end of the spectrum, there will be a few who can’t dance at all and are just flailing in loose approximation to the rhythm of the music. And then there will be people who think that they are good dancers but, in all honesty, are not.
And so it is with networking.
How do you decide what direction to head next in your career? Would you like to be more visible inside your company? How do you increase your chances of getting a job offer inside of a company that interests you?
Over the course of my speaking and client engagements I find myself frequently recommending informational interviews as a tactic to learn, as well as gain exposure for your career. Informational interviews are a great way to explore opportunities, discover mentors, and get information about a field of work from someone who has firsthand knowledge.
People think and process ideas in multitude of ways. In general, extraverts tend to think externally; they need to verbalize their thoughts to think. Introverts, on the other hand, prefer to have their thoughts more fully formed before they speak. These differences in preferences can have profound differences in how effectively people communicate.