The success that you have in your career is strongly linked to the people you have in your corner.
And I’m not just referring to people you know. It’s the people that have your back that will make the difference.
I remember going to my first networking night as a uni student. I made my own business cards. Hilarious, I know. And my aim was to hand them out to as many people as possible. Even as I write this I literally crack up laughing. Yep, that got me real far (Not). Although, you have to give me some credit for showing initiative. Believe it or not, there were plenty of students that didn’t give out one of their business cards. But it still did absolutely nothing for me (lol).
In the corporate world the way that most networking events are set up and the way we’re taught to go about it, doesn’t really do much for us. Yes, we meet the person and we can say we’ve spoken to them, but rarely do they become those people that have got your back.
So, what do I mean when I say someone that’s got your back?
I know you’ll automatically think that I’m talking about a person that will hand a job over to you when you need one. But that’s not what I’m talking about at all.
What I’m talking about is that trusted friend that can understand you at your work level and give you help when you need it. A person that you feel 100% comfortable telling them, if need be, “that it’s all gone to shit and I need help.”
And one of the biggest mistakes that we make is not making any effort to strengthen our ties with these people until we need them.
Yep, I’ve done it and I’m sure you have too. Not contacting a particular person until you actually need them. And then when you do need them, it’s that awkward “Hi, remember me? How you been? Can you do me a favour?” Yep, awkward, awkward, awkward.
So, how do we get onto the path of developing those relationships that could later become our life-lines? A term which Keith Ferrazzi uses quite often in his book “Who’s Got Your Back”.
Well, it really comes down to a few simple things:
• When meeting them for the first time try and connect on a personal level. Based on my experience we tend to start the conversation off with questions about their job, which seems quite natural to do. But what we need to remember is that over 80% of people out there hate their job¹. So starting the conversation with this topic isn’t going to create any real bond. A question that many recommend using is “What’s keeping your interest these days?” Through this you could discover shared interests. And that’s when the bonding can start.
• Follow up. It could be a simple email. Or a hand written note. You’d be surprised the impact that a hand written note makes these days.
• Once you know something about them, think of something you could do for them before you actually need their help. Just for the purpose of helping them out and nothing more. And don’t just think on a work level as that tends to stop people in their tracks. You kind of think well he’s more advance than me so what could I possibly offer him? But maybe when you were talking you discovered that he’s a foodie and you just happen to go to a new restaurant the other night that you absolutely loved. You could shoot him an email telling him about it as a place he should check out. Remember the act of giving is more important than what you give.
• And when the offer comes let them help you. We tend to be much more comfortable with helping instead of letting people help us. Keep this in mind next time an offer of help comes. And instead of automatically saying “No” give “Yes” a go. You never know what might come out of it.
Blog Tip #28 – A really good online course that will open your eyes to a world of opportunity, that you can do online at your own pace and space is Live Your Legend’s How To Connect With Anyone course. Look into it. You’ll be connecting with people you never thought possible.
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Talk to you next week.