Networking can feel awkward and phony, but it doesn’t have to be that way. This course can help you approach people and make genuine connections for life using your own style and interests.
Too many people associate “networking” with a job hunt, when they are feeling most vulnerable, and even under time pressure, to somehow meet and become BFFs with that one magical person who can open all the doors and usher them into a perfect new job. Wouldn’t that be great? But it doesn’t work that way. Job hunting — and really any quest for useful information to open your mind to new possibilities — is more like a scavenger hunt. You have adventures and meet people along the way who provide clues and rewards, and help you shape your ideas. With their help and your curiosity and energy, you get where you need to be.
Another key to making good connections is understanding that this is a lifelong activity. None of us will have one employer or one job. The average worker today may hold a dozen jobs over his or her professional life. And the people you meet where you’re working now, the people you went to school with, people you’ve met through co-workers or friends, at conferences or alumni gatherings — these are the people who become your network for years to come. And here’s some good news: you don’t have to meet everyone in the room. You don’t have to spend time with everyone you’ve ever met in passing, let alone stay in touch with them all. You’ll naturally gravitate to some people because they’re kind, funny, thoughtful, or memorable in some way that connects with you. These are the ones who form your network. Your brain trust.
And the key to building a network for life is really about keeping in touch those people. It’s never been important than it is today, when we change jobs, locations, and even fields throughout our working lives.
I have worked for tech companies in Silicon Valley for 30 years, as a writer, editor, and communications pro. Since the tech world is so fluid, I’ve held many jobs and met many people. It’s the norm in tech to move around — and to stay in what I call “loose touch” with others, who are also moving jobs and reinventing themselves, as I have done. And this is a reason why, even though I’m introvert (who can’t wait to get home and have quiet time to process the day), I enjoy a wide-ranging network of allies and friends across industries, roles and locations. Over the years people have introduced others to me for career advice, or guidance on working in technology, saying that I “know everybody.” It’s true I know a lot of people, but even more than that, I keep in touch, often simply through our LinkedIn connection or whatever channels we’re on together. And I’m always open to meeting others when an opportunity arises.
In fact, lots of us know lots of people, at least casually. The real secret is paying attention in the moment, and keeping in touch informally and occasionally, so that when you have a question or a quest you can reach out to someone in your web of contacts without fear or anxiety. And you, in turn, can offer that support and guidance to someone else when they ask.
This course offers both practical how-to’s and a touch of philosophy: there are specific tasks and steps to take to meet and stay in touch with people; and it really helps to be open and curious when you meet someone new.
In this course, you’ll:
Discover why it’s beneficial to make and keep connections throughout your working life
Cultivate an authentic web of connections with people you like
Identify online tools that make it easy to be in touch with many people virtually
Determine how to network at your current job
Recognize the importance of keeping track and keeping in touch
I’ll hope you’ll join me in uncovering, and discovering, a better way to make and keep authentic connections with people.
CPE (Continuing Professional Education)
Explain the benefits of networking today.
Define the concept of “loose touch.”
Describe how you can leverage your contacts when you need something.
Discover ways to best use LinkedIn for networking.
Identify ways you can use Twitter for networking.
State the value of email in networking.
Explain how you can network on the job.
Recognize the importance of viewing networking as an ongoing activity of cultivation like “farming.”
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