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Part 2: The Art of Networking

Updated: Oct 20, 2020

Part 2 of a three-part series on networking:


Part 1 Why Network

How does it help?

The first steps to keep in touch

How to use social media to passively network

When should you link with someone on LinkedIn?

Don’t be fake

Part 2 The Art of Networking

When do you need a networking campaign?

The 4 steps of a networking campaign

1. Track activity

2. Decide whom to call

3. Choose your form of contact

4. Practice what to say

Part 3 The Benefits of Networking

Prepare for the meeting

Write the agenda

Specific questions

Follow up

Pay it forward

Networking is an art that you practice and that develops over time. Eventually, you’ll find your “voice.” Mine is casual and direct. What does your voice sound like? Maybe it’s formal, motivational or analytical.


During this time of social distancing, many of us are finding ourselves simultaneously in need of help and giving help. Working from home allows us more flexibility to talk on the phone and develop these networking connections.

When do you need a networking campaign?

There will be times you will need to put together a networking campaign to accomplish a specific goal:

  • Getting a job

  • Transitioning to a new industry

  • Helping a child get a job

  • Hiring someone into your team

Having networked during your career makes the campaign easier, but networking can begin at any point in your life.

As I said in Part 1 of this blog post, you should remember two things: 1) Networking needs to be practiced and 2) Be authentic; people can see through the bullshit.

The 4 steps of a networking campaign

Here are your steps:

  1. Track activity

  2. Decide whom to call

  3. Choose your form of contact

  4. Practice what to say

Step 1: Track activity

It’s important to track who you contact, when you contact them and the next steps. Once you speak with them, track key details to remember in the future.

It doesn’t matter how you track your activity, as long as you do. There are apps for mobile and desktops. Look for “contact” apps rather than “networking” apps. Some people will keep track of activity in their address or contacts app directly. Excel has free templates you can use. Here is a screenshot of a simple spreadsheet layout I’ve used in the past.


Whatever your choice, make sure you have a system for following up. Set dates to hold yourself accountable.

Step 2: Decide whom to call

Now that you have your app or your spreadsheet, fill it in. Who should these people be? Ideally, they should be “Connectors” and “Persuaders.” You want professionals who know people who may help you toward your goal. They should be in the field you want to work in, or perhaps their spouse or sibling is in your field. You may choose to rate them with A, B or C to signify their strength as a potential networker for you, and you might change their rating over time.

Possible sources:

  • High School: sports teams, band, clubs, teachers, administration

  • College: Greek life, clubs, classes, teachers, administration

  • Internships, jobs, seasonal jobs, coworkers, volunteer opportunities

  • Daily Life: People in your neighborhood, gym, bar, coffee shop, restaurant

  • Family: Parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles

  • Social media contacts: LinkedIn, Facebook, Insta, Twitter


Continually add names to your list until you reach your goal.


Step 3: Choose your form of contact

Whether you text, make a phone call or email depends on the age of your contact, the business they are in and your relationship.

Examples:

If you’re reaching out to a recent college grad who works at a bank, shoot off a quick text. Include your name if they don’t have you in their contacts.

If they’re a previous coworker who is busy at work and who leaves promptly at 5:30 to drive home, phone them at 5:35 since you know they’ll be in their car.

If you’ve previously seen someone use email as their preferred method of communicating, use email.

Step 4: Practice what to say

It’s good practice to write simple phone scripts: one if they answer the phone and one if you leave a message.

You may also want scripts for texts and emails. It may help to have notes to reference when starting out.

Examples:

“Hi, it’s Linda. I thought about you recently and was hoping to catch up. Let me know when we can have coffee this week ok? I’ll text you, too. Have a great day!”

“Since working with you at ACME I’ve watched you become a manager and grow teams and do well in your career. I’d like to meet so I can hear more about what you’ve done and ask your opinion about things happening in my job. I’d also like to share my resume with you and get any feedback you would be willing to share with me.

By helping others and asking for help, you will grow your networking skills and reach your goal.

Let me know below some ideas you have found to be helpful.

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