Happy New Year! Welcome to 2014
Congratulations to Matt Youngquist who has now been in business as Career Horizons for 10 years!! Matt is terrific at pretty much every aspect of Career Coaching. His web page has a bunch of resources that you can access, his classes are very helpful as well. If you have not signed up for his Newsletter for heaven’s sake do so. Matt is one of the genuinely class people I know, in this or any other business. He loves to write and does so very well, he takes terrific notes and has a network that is amazing. The result is that his list of opportunities in the Newsletter is substantial and many of them are not listed anywhere else. So, Sign UP!
An additional list in his Newsletter is recent blog posts he finds interesting. This month has about a dozen and one of those captured my attention. 30 Brilliant Networking Conversation Starters (The Daily Muse Blog)
At some level, we all know and we have certainly been told more times than we can count, that “networking” is the answer when it comes to all things job search. Unfortunately, it’s way easier said than done. Frequently, it is fear that gets in the way and the first fear is simply knowing how to start. This post gives very clear simple suggestions. You can literally write them on your hand when you go somewhere and might be meeting new people. Most importantly, they work.
When we think of networking it helps to think in more intellectual terms; as in, “this is something I need to learn”. When you (we) approach anything as a “learning” process, rather than some deep emotional process, it allows us to bring a lot of tools to the table that work. Emotions are normally more complicated, so for things where we have emotional reactions, such as putting ourselves out there and meeting new people, switching to the learning side of our brain tends to be more effective.
To start with we break down the task to component parts.
- Who do we want to meet?
- How do we identify where we can find face time with them?
- How can we start a conversation?
- What do we want out of these conversations?
- What questions are effective at focusing the conversation in that direction?
- How much should we talk, vs listen?
- What is an appropriate follow up process?
As you get into this, each of these bullets can be further broken down. All of them sidestep personal emotional baggage, and all of them put you in a position to grow. The most important learning is simply that you are capable.
For example, “How can we start a conversation?” The answer to this is not a vague set of “principles” or some outline, it’s a set of questions you can memorize. Read the link I included. It has 30 specific questions you can use. Try them out, which ones work for you? Which ones lead to interesting conversations? Which ones allow you to get into the flow? Maybe you go somewhere and use one of these questions and it comes out really stilted and phony. That’s OK. You are learning. Next time will be easier and better. Maybe you have tried it more than once and it hasn’t even started to work…. That’s OK as well. In this case, try the next one down the list. This is simply something you are learning, when something doesn’t work, then it is just like doing a math problem and coming up with the wrong answer. How do you fix that? You check your work, modify your process a little and try again. We keep at it until we get it right. It is all about learning.