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Apply Patience To Networking

From Career Tips, 2017 Volume 9, September 2017

It's hard to be patient when you are worried about when you are going to land, or when you are going to engage that next contracting assignment or client. This can easily lead to a psychology that impairs or even derails your networking efforts.

One very simple example is the 'ask'. If I attempt to aim too directly at achieving my ultimate goal (get a job; get a sale) from a 1-on-1 networking meeting, instead of the real goal that will move that connection forward (build a strong relationship), I will likely ensure that it never moves me towards that goal.

You can't improve the results of your networking by pressing your contacts harder. In fact, pressing them LESS may accomplish more. This is because the strongest results come when a contact volunteers to help you in some way, rather than in response to your request.

Think of it this way: Suppose I'm hoping to get you to connect me to a senior executive at your company. If I press for that too hard or too soon, you may:
  • Agree (reluctantly), and then find an excuse not to make it happen, or just never do it. And then likely avoid me in the future.
  • Agree (reluctantly), and then make a weak statement to the senior executive that either results in no meeting, or a meeting that starts off on the wrong foot.
  • Refuse, and then feel uncomfortable that you were asked.

    Any of these can impair the relationship, and make it much less likely that you do anything more to help me later on.

    On the other hand, if I do a really good job of getting you engaged, you may volunteer to make connections for me. In that case, there won't be any awkwardness about it, and the subsequent meetings are much more likely to happen. And what you tell people on my behalf is likely to communicate a lot more passion, resulting in stronger meetings.

    This is part of the reason why you should never ask about openings, who is hiring, whether I know someone who might be in a position to hire you, etc. If you build a strong relationship, and get me really engaged, I will always volunteer those things I know that could be helpful. If I don't volunteer them, trying to pull them out of me will be ineffective.

    Networking is not a sprint, it's a marathon!

    If you want faster results, don't push to get more out of individual meetings. Arrange MORE 1-on-1 meetings.


    Patience is the P in my PERFECT Networker template. We'll explore more of the template next time...

    Click here for Part 1 in this series, Apply Patience To Interviews


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