February 29 – The odd duck
This day occurs very rarely, once every 4 years, or once every 1,461 days, which equates to 0.068% of the time. While it does not occur often, it is of vital importance in order to keep us all on track. My past experience has led me to believe that networking among accounting and financial professionals occurs at about the same rate, maybe even less. In the interests of increasing this dramatically, this day is dedicated to networking and mentoring.
Network 1 – Introduction
I have seen various statistics that say 80% of people get their new jobs thru networking. That tells me that if you are looking you should meet one of your contacts at the local coffee shop to catch up. Leave the internet job boards, newspaper ads, etc. for others to use. They are not that much help. This is more difficult for some than others, but I will give you some ideas for conversation or you can Google conversation starters. First off ask about them. Forget you, they are their most interesting subject (this goes for everyone since we all like people to like us). How is your ? Fill in the blank with one of the following: family, kids, job, sports activities, volunteer activities, parents, friends, neighborhood, etc. What is the most challenging thing that you are dealing with at work right now? Is there anything I can do to help you? (Think of your contacts and who might best fit to help them in their challenge). If you can connect them with one of your contacts do so as soon as possible. You have helped them solve their problem AND expand their network at the same time. Double Bonus. Trust me that this will come back to help you when you need it. Think pay it forward. Here is an idea from Paul Ford writing at medium.com. “When you are at a party and are thrust into conversation with someone, see how long you can hold off before talking about what they do for a living. And when that painful lull arrives, be the master of it. I have come to revel in that agonizing first pause, because I know that I can push a conversation through. Just ask the other person what they do, and right after they tell you, say: “Wow. That sounds hard.” Because nearly everyone in the world believes their job to be difficult.” https://medium.com/message/how-to-be-polite-9bf1e69e888c. Please read Mr. Ford’s entire essay. Definitely worth your time.
But most importantly DO NOT look for, or search or scheme about how it will help you. This is not about you. Solve their challenge and leave it at that. If you go into networking looking for how it will help you and nothing else, don’t bother networking. You will end up with people avoiding you because you are in it for you, which is counter to what you want. Start with people you are closer to then as you get more comfortable meet with those who are less familiar. Of course it will be awkward at first but each time gets easier. Keep at it.
Start with this. Come back for the next post in this series.