Here’s a thought: When you are asked for a networking meeting, allow your initial reaction to be “YES!” Indeed, everyone is busy… time is a scarce and precious resource. Remember, though, there are no bad meetings and everyone has something of value to bring to the conversation. Know also that when you are asked for networking time from others, there is often some concern on his/her part that you either might not respond or not accept the invitation. You have the capability to allay concern, trepidation, etc.
I heard a story recently that was disheartening regarding the request/response transaction. One fellow, we’ll call him Al, often did business with another guy, Jim. Over the years, Al did a lot of work with Jim, provided him favorable pricing, considered him frequently as a partner. Years later, when Al was on the job market looking for work, he contacted Jim to ask for a networking meeting. At first, radio silence. When pressed, Jim offered a 15-minute phone conversation. Before the conversation took place, he cancelled the meeting. He seemingly forgot the good work that the two had done together in years prior. Al was disappointed and hurt. Jim could have had a raving fan; instead he burned a bridge. An unnecessary outcome. Al had asked for nothing more than a simple networking meeting. And, whether Jim was busy or not, good communication could have helped to avoid this result.
Whichever side you are on, try to make the networking experience positive. Your communication is a reflection of who you are. Communicate nicely. My friend, Byron Ginsburg, suggests that he or she who has been asked for a networking conversation consider these three precepts:
- Feel flattered and be open to the potential domino effect of a new contact.
- See an invitation as an opportunity, not as an inconvenience.
- Life is cyclical; the benefits of reciprocation are long-term.
- Within 1-2 days, since responsiveness often indicates interest.
- If a requested date and time don’t work, suggest an alternate that works for your calendar.
- It’s better to decline appropriately vs. not responding at all.
- Share willingly; a request for your expertise is a compliment.
- When asked for a referral, browsing your address book for personal, professional and volunteer connections is more helpful than a quick, top-of-mind response.
- If a request is sudden or needs consideration, ask for time to reply appropriately.
Thanks, Byron, great suggestions that our CLC community will surely appreciate.
And so, today marks November 30th – another National Novel Writing Month draws to a close. Though I didn’t write a 50,000 word novel as the rules dictate, I did share 19,043 words with you through 30 posts and hope that the blogs resonated with you. I thank you for your engagement over the last month and look forward to continuing to build our CLC community together.