Skill Level Appropriate for all
- We're all busy, and it's easy to get sucked into the whirlwind of day-to-day obligations at work and forget all about networking. That's what happened to one guy, Dan, whom I profiled in my first book Reinventing You. He worked for the same company for 10 years, and one day he woke up and realized he didn't know anyone outside his company, which is a bit of a dangerous position to be in professionally. You need a deep network, but you also need a broad one. There are other challenges, too. If you haven't even focused much on networking inside your company, you might discover you don't have the support in place that you need to win a promotion.
Or maybe you had some close colleagues, but if they leave or transfer to another part of the company, you're left alone and a bit exposed to risk. So here's how to keep networking on your radar even when you're busy. First, make a list of your top contacts and prioritize them. Very few people do this, but it's extremely important. The reason is you can't network with everyone. If you think about keeping up with everyone you know, all your co-workers and your past co-workers and your college friends and your LinkedIn contacts, it is going to get overwhelming pretty fast.
You simply can't do it. Instead prioritize and triage. Some people are going to be more professionally relevant for you to stay connected with than others. Now this isn't about ranking people as human beings, and it's not even about how much time you spend with someone overall. You might have a professional contact on your list that's pretty low down when it comes to networking value, but they're a close friend and you love spending time with them, so do it. Don't justify it as networking, because it's not. It's you hanging out with your friends, which is a different bucket of time.
Second, build networking into your schedule with things you're already doing. If you consider it something extra that you need to add to your work you're probably going to avoid it, because you've already got too much on your plate. Where am I supposed to find another hour if we're having a networking meeting with someone anyway? But the trick is add networking as an ingredient to something you're already doing. You're going to eat lunch anyway, so invite a colleague to join you that you want to catch up with. And if you're already planning to hit that industry cocktail party, try to go with a colleague.
That can kill two birds with one stone and make networking far more effective and likely to happen. Third, one easy strategy I learned from a colleague named Michael Katz is to write three quick, personal catch-up emails every morning. This only takes five or 10 minutes, so it's not a huge time burden. But it's a great way to keep up with people who are important but whom you might not see that often. Your messages don't need to be long. Maybe just a paragraph. You can ask them about the last thing you talked about. How was your trip to Maui, or how are you liking the new job, or how's Billy doing in first grade? Express interest in their lives, and very briefly update them on what you're doing.
That'll keep you top-of-mind and with a warm relationship, so you don't go five years without talking to someone and then you lose the connection. Making the time to network when you're busy isn't easy, but that effort will pay off for you enormously down the road.
Q: Why can't I earn a Certificate of Completion for this course?
A: We publish a new tutorial or tutorials for this course on a regular basis. We are unable to offer a Certificate of Completion because it is an ever-evolving course that is not designed to be completed. Check back often for new movies.