7 Easy Networking Tips When there is NO Time to Network
- June 24, 2015
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Does This Sound Familiar?
When networking is the least favorite thing to do, all it takes is a tiny kink in the schedule for networking to fall off the list. Sound familiar?
Networking can take a lot of time but with some thoughtful planning can be an ongoing, painless process with very little schedule impact. Networking does not have to mean attending every after-work event, or going out for drinks with colleagues. Those activities are great but do take hours of precious time.
Here are some simple tips to support networking without calendar stress:
- Network on the job. Most of the time our job is filled with co-workers, vendors, contractors, and customers. We don’t think about these people but we are all surrounded by a “target rich” environment and don’t always notice. Simply stop each day to spend a bit of time with someone out of the daily flow of work.
- Put it on your schedule. Sticky notes tend to get ignored and memory is unreliable. Start by scheduling 15 minutes twice a week for networking. This is the same amount of time it takes to get a latte (maybe less).
- Use lunch and coffee breaks. It is all too easy to get into a rut at work. Use open times to deliberately interact with people at work that is not in the normal workflow contact. The only way to develop a deeper relationship is by spending time and getting to know the other person.
- Use time-saving communication. Pinging someone in e-mail or a text is a great way of keeping in contact without taking up too much time. It lets the other person know you are thinking of them.
- Consider forming a group. Ever hear of “Two birds with one stone”? Rather than meeting up with one person at a time, meet with a handful of people at once. A lot of ground can get covered with relationship building in small, hand-picked groups. This is a big time-saver. As an introvert, this is more satisfying because these aren’t strangers; which means you will have a better point of reference for discussion. Also, people who act as connectors are historically more successful. This is a good practice to get into.
- Expand through existing friends. Rather than the exhausting activity of going to a networking event, start asking friends to make introductions of people they know. The great thing about these connections is that friends will screen people and make introductions they think make sense. It’s a little like a blind date but without the romantic entanglement.
- Pay attention. In the normal course of a day, we encounter many people we rarely pay attention to. These people could easily expand a network and there is a natural opportunity to build the relationship. An example of this might be going to a place regularly like a local Starbuck or gym. Many people tend to have the same type of habit of frequenting a place at the same time of day. Look around and study people you see. Some of these people could easily become part of your network by paying attention to them and routinely interacting with them. The great thing is, no extra time going somewhere that’s already part of the schedule.
With very little effort, the expansion and ongoing nurturing of your network can easily take place.
Brought to you by Dorothy Tannahill-Moran – dedicated to unleash your professional potential.