Unlock the secrets to networking success! This episode promises to take you on a journey through the intimidating world of networking, equipping you with strategies to transform it into an enriching experience of relationship building. Join us as we debunk common misconceptions about networking as merely transactional exchanges. I’ll share my insights on being authentic and curious in your interactions and how generosity can enhance your networking experiences. Listen to my pet peeves about LinkedIn connections and why I've lately turned into a 'blocking machine.'
Moving on to the LinkedIn platform, we'll talk about refining your profile for maximum impact – think clear headshots, compelling headlines, and a comprehensive 'About' section. Discover the significance of testimonials and having a clear goal for your networking endeavors. Also, learn the art of smart networking – it's not about being needy but about fostering relationships before making any requests. For those eager to delve deeper, we've got two additional podcast episodes that you can refer to for enhancing your LinkedIn game. So, tune in and pave your way to networking mastery today!
Check out these additional episodes:
Ep. 93 – Stop Pitching!
Ep. 96 – Why You Need to Write More LinkedIn Recommendations
Ep. 149 – How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile with Tracy Enos
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One of the most popular topics on the mid-career GPS podcast is networking. When I'm speaking with clients and connections about how they feel about networking, it's usually met with resistance. That sounds something like this I'm not good at it, I know I should be doing more networking, but there just isn't enough time. Networking scares me to death. Or how about? Why do I have to offer someone when I'm networking? Does any of that sound familiar? Well, it is time we change some of that. In this shorty episode, I'm going to give you some quick and actionable tips you can do right now to build your network and start moving your mid-career GPS to whatever is next for you in your career. Plus, I'm going to share with you my number one pet peeve about people connecting on LinkedIn and why I have been a blocking machine on LinkedIn lately. Let's get started. Hello, my friends, this is episode 167 of the Mid-Career GPS podcast. I'm your host, John Neral. I help mid-career professionals who feel stuck, undervalued and underutilized show up to find a job they love, or love the job they have, by using my proven four-step formula. Now this episode. We're talking about networking, but if you want more information about networking and building your mid-career GPS, I'd love for you to check out my book. It is called your Mid-Career GPS Four Steps to Figuring Out what's Next. In that book, there is an entire section devoted to networking with great tips and ideas to help you. Plus, you will learn what you need to do to prepare, position and promote who you are and what you do as you show up to create your next advancement opportunity. You can find my books on Amazon or visit your favorite bookseller today. Now, if there's one thing I want to offer you to consider about networking, it's this Networking is all about relationship building. It is not about creeping people out. It is not about being pitchy and overly aggressive. It is so easy to get into our heads about why we aren't good at it or why we aren't good at talking to people or carrying on a conversation. This stops now. Do you have people in your life? Do you have friends? Do you have a significant other? Somehow, that all happened because you were able to talk to them. The same thing holds true when we're networking. What I want to offer you today are some quick, actionable tips to help reframe or reshift your mindset around what networking is. Let's begin with this what is your goal for networking? If your goal is I want to meet somebody who's going to find me a new job, stop. That should not be your primary goal for networking. Your goal for networking should be about building a relationship and getting to know somebody, learning about them and seeing who in your network you can connect them to. I will tell you that when I started my business, I was not good at this. This is a skill that I have had to learn and study and adapt and practice and, most importantly, be messy with, because I'm sure there are a few people who got messages from me and they were like this fool Right, but we have to give ourselves permission to experiment and play, and one of the things that I have learned is that it's really important when we're networking, to be authentic, and being authentic means who are you, who do you want people to know you as? So one of the things that I've gotten really good at over the last year or so is by using video messaging on LinkedIn. Now, admittedly, I'm a little more comfortable on video than what I was several years ago when I first started this. I started with audio messages because I didn't feel like typing everything, and then I progressed into video messaging and I really have to credit my friend and colleague, rhonda Sher. Rhonda is R-H-O-N-D-A. Sher is S-H-E-R. You can find her on LinkedIn. She is known as your LinkedIn consultant. Rhonda has over 30,000 followers on LinkedIn. She is an expert. She was so kind to not only give me a testimonial for my book, but she also reviewed the LinkedIn section of my book and gave me her thumbs up on it. So Rhonda really encouraged me to use video. She's like John. You have this very warm and engaging presence. You should do video on LinkedIn, and I started sending these 45, 60-second videos on LinkedIn, inviting people to a get-to-know-you call or sharing a resource with them, and things just blew up. I started welcoming people into my network who I really wanted them to be a part of, because I felt like I could be a valuable resource to them and perhaps there was a way they could connect me with somebody in their network as well. So figure out what that is for you. Maybe you start off with some messaging, maybe you do an audio or you do a video, whatever that is. But however you show up on LinkedIn, be yourself. Don't try to be somebody you're not. So another tip I have for you when you're networking is just be a very intuitive and diagnostic listener and be curious. Ask people open-ended questions. More than likely, 98% of the people you're going to connect with are not going to have a problem talking about themselves, especially when you ask them a question about their work or how they got to where they are. Later on this week you're gonna hear a conversation I had with Mac Prichard. Mac is the host of the Find your Dream Job podcast and we talk all things about informational interviews and how they can accelerate your career. So make sure you're following or subscribing so you get that automatically downloaded. But definitely go back and listen. It's gonna drop a couple days from now, so on Thursday, july 20th, it's gonna drop and really love for you to check that out, because one of the things that Mac talks about is how curiosity is really gonna lead us into these informational interview conversations. But another thing when we're networking is who do you want to be known as? Do you want to be known as a giver or as a taker, when people show up and they say, hey, I'm looking for a new job you're looking to take, and there's a time and a place to do that, and I want to offer you that it is not at the onset of a networking conversation. What I want to offer you is think about how you can give first. What can you give to somebody in your network? And the easiest thing that I believe you can do is be a great connector. Who in your network is somebody they should be talking to? Either someone who you know, who works in a particular industry or company, just has a fascinating story that you think they'd kind of hit it off? I met my book coach, andrea Seidel, because of a common connection. A coach colleague of mine connected us and he said I'm just gonna tell you two right now. I'm gonna make a connection and I'm gonna very slowly walk away because that's gonna be way too much energy for me to handle. So, mike Jensen, if you're listening to this, thank you very much for connecting me to Andrea, but I'm so appreciative of that. Mike was like hey, I know somebody on my network you should be talking to. You can also provide resources or share information, but here's where I want you to lean in. Here are three of my favorite questions to ask whenever I'm networking with somebody. One how can I help you? Keep in mind, when you're interviewing for a job, you're gonna share, how you're going to help them. Number two who's an excellent connection for you? You know people in your network and chances are they want to meet other people too. You're great in everything, but they want to meet other people too. So who's an excellent connection that you can make for somebody? And thirdly, what is something you want to accomplish professionally in the next six months? Then, asking a networking connection that, and then listening to what they say and seeing. Go back to number one how you might be able to help them. Maybe it's being an accountability partner or connecting them to somebody, whatever that is, but asking these types of curious questions allow you to gather data to figure out how you can help them first. I'm gonna tell you a little trick that I do. Whenever I'm networking with somebody new, I always want to be the first one that asks a question like so, tell me about yourself and your business, or tell me about yourself and your career? I want to be the first one to ask, because that's one way that I know I can immediately start giving first is just by holding space for them and listening. Now, if you are networking on LinkedIn and you should be, as my friend Rhonda says if you're not on LinkedIn, you're left out. One of the things that you must have on LinkedIn is an optimized profile that includes a clear headshot, a very clear and specific headline, and you should also have a clear about section. You have 2,500 characters to fill up in your about section. I can't tell you how many times I see profiles where people put a couple of sentences and that's it. Come on, you're more interesting than that. Tell me about your career path, why you like what you do, and if you would kindly share something a little personal in there as well, that I get to know you a little bit. Maybe you have an interesting hobby or you've traveled somewhere this particularly fascinating, or you've done something that nobody in your network has probably done, but that's gonna be a great talking point. And lastly, make sure you have testimonials, and preferably current testimonials. These are people who can vouch for the quality of your work and they're there to help build that no-likes and trust factor. I'm gonna link up a couple of episodes in the show notes as well, but I'd love for you to go back and check out episode 96. It's called why you Need to Write More LinkedIn Recommendations. I'm also gonna link up to episode 149, how to Optimize your LinkedIn Profile with Tracy Enos. It's another episode that did particularly well that I'd love for you to go back and check out Now, if you are somebody that is likes to attend networking events, or maybe you think it's something you should do I'm not saying you should or you shouldn't, but there's two different types. There's virtual and there's in-person. Whatever the type of networking event is, what I wanna offer you is this have a very specific goal for going into that networking event. How many people do you wanna meet? How many connections do you wanna make? How many leads do you wanna get? This may surprise you, but whenever I go to a networking event, my number is two One because I think that's not enough, and three because I think that's too many. Like, if I get two networking connections from that that I can follow up with that are really quality, I'm good. I'm all right. If I get more, that's a bonus. But I sometimes find in-person networking events to be very energetically draining. I don't mind doing them, but I find them to be a little energetically draining, and so what's my number? The other episode that I wanna reference here is episode number 93, it's called Stop Pitching, so many of you feel like you have this need to pitch to all in your network. Here's what I want, here's my ask. Give this to me Stop pitching. Get to know people first, right, get to know people first and then figure out where the best entry point is for you to go for the ask. But if all you're doing is pitching, you're very needy and graspy and that is such a huge turnoff. Networking is about building relationships. Look, you wouldn't walk up to somebody who you were interested in dating and go will you marry me? Ew, no, please, nobody, do that. All right, if you've ever dated somebody and you found them to be clingy, needy, graspy, it was a huge turnoff. Right, you were like kick your heels off and run, run away as fast as possible. Why would you do that when you're networking Doesn't make any sense. Be authentic, be genuine, be open, be a relationship builder. There will come a time for you to ask and, more importantly, somebody's already gonna go ahead and beat you to it who are you looking to meet? What are you looking for? How can I help you in this conversation? Then, by all means, tell them. But here is hands down, and it is something that has happened over the last six months. I do not know why, but my number one pet peeve on LinkedIn is a canned or generic message in which you have done nothing about reading my profile or knowing what I do. Do you know? The other day I got an email from somebody that referred to me as a physician in my medical practice. Yeah, couldn't be further from the truth, right? I get connection requests that say things like you look like an interesting person and have a fascinating career profile. Can I schedule 15 minutes to talk with you? No, no, why would I schedule 15 minutes with you when, one, I don't even know you. Two, I don't even know if I like you and probably I don't. And thirdly, I feel like I'm ranting here and I hope you're okay with that, because I'm actually okay with it. And thirdly, you're not somebody who I think I actually want to invite into my network. See, here's the thing I have been blocking people on LinkedIn because I don't want to hear from them, I don't want to connect with them and, more importantly, I don't want them in my network because I protect my network. I protect my network because of the people who are in it, and so if I welcome somebody into my network and they see that they're a second connection to somebody and they perhaps send a message and they're like hey, I see we're commonly connected to John Narrowland, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And, like John, who's this person in your network? I protect my network, so I'm not going to invite you into my network if I don't feel like there's an honest and genuine connection. That's there. I want to offer and I'm going to give you permission to do the same thing. You get a random connection request from somebody. You do not have to accept it. I have a friend of mine. We have this thing back and forth. They'll show me their phone and they'll be like see this person. I have no idea how they found me. Why would I want to connect with them on LinkedIn? And I'm always like, trying to be like well, maybe they're this, maybe they're that, and they're like nope. I think that's awesome in some ways right, because they're very protective of their network. You can be too right, but here's the thing If you're going to send a connection request to somebody, do it because you found something about them, you've researched their profile, you've pulled something out right, and do that in a way that you feel very comfortable and confident and proud of how you are building your network, especially on LinkedIn. Once you do that, you have no control whether they accept your request or not. Honestly, it doesn't matter, because you will get plenty of people who will accept you into their network and you will start building a relationship with them. More than likely, especially if you have the free plan on LinkedIn. You're not going to know how active they are on LinkedIn anyway unless you see what they've done in their activity, and even then they might not be checking it a whole lot. So show up, be genuine, be authentic, be a connector, build your relationships, be a great, valuable, interesting, dynamic networking connection for somebody and give yourself permission to play in how you network. All right, hope you enjoyed this. Go out, make some wonderful connections on LinkedIn, build and grow your network and connect people to each other. And remember this we build our mid-career GPS one mile or one step at a time, and how we show up matters. Make it a great rest of your day. Thank you for listening to the Mid-Career GPS podcast. Make sure to follow on your favorite listening platform and, if you have a moment, I'd love to hear your comments on Apple Podcast. Visit JohnNarrowcom for more information about how I can help you build your mid-career GPS or how I can help you and your organization with your next workshop or public speaking event. And don't forget to connect with me on LinkedIn and follow me on social at JohnNarrowCoaching. I look forward to being back with you next week. Until then, take care and remember how we show up matters.