Last week while teaching a class, I was handed a small piece of paper that had the headlines, “Networking the GT Way”. I quickly perused it and put in my briefcase to read later. Sunday afternoon I picked it up and went through it more thoroughly, what came out of it was some good advice to all of us. Though this is a GT Alumnus piece, the lessons are for anyone that would like to better themselves in this world.
Here they are, with my thoughts added below each one:
* Always be professional in dress, language and manners
We would like to think that this is a given in today’s world, yet all we have to do is look around and see that it isn’t. I was fortunate that my parents taught me that and INSISTED that we follow that line, though I even find my self compromising the rule at times. I feel that we show appreciation to others by dressing appropriately and carrying ourselves in a professional manner.
* Set expectations and stick to them, e.g.. keep a 20 minute coffee to just that.
So many times in our lives we want or desire to do something, yet we are not disciplined enough to carry it through. It can be the small things, just like the note says, “A 20 minute coffee”. We get into a good conversation and we let the time go…. yes, there are times that we should cut ourselves some slack, yet there are also times to stick to the plan…so stick to the plan!
* Develop a short :30 second introduction. Mention your Tech degree, related experience and career goals.
An elevator speech is what most people know this as. A short little story about what you do and give it some credibility by stating an actual fact. Here is mine: “Hi, my name is Bob Ganzak and I am a Performance Consultant with Dale Carnegie Training. We improve the performance of companies by improving their number one asset, their people. For example…. ” Then I would go join and give them a short real world example of how we did that. An elevator speech is a great tool when meeting others and growing your business world.
* Strive to be positively memorable by sharing relevant details about your past.
Hard road or smooth road, there are many sharable stories that we all have. That defining moment, that key moment that turned you into the person you are today. Our lives are like a mosaic, many little moments that make up the entire picture. Do not be afraid to share relevant moments with others…it is that reality that can open you up to new possibilities and successes!
* Be optimistic about your future.
People like to do business with positive people. When I took my motorcycle class to get my license years ago, the instructor always stressed that where you look is where you go. If you look down, you will go down. If you want to turn right, look in that direction and your hands and bike will follow. I have found in my life that where I look is where I am most likely to go. Be realistic, be humble and be positive. Always thinking the worse will happen might just be a prophecy too….
* Show genuine appreciation for what contacts do for you. Send them Thank You emails or handwritten notes.
Yes, I sometimes forget, though I always try to do this. I am not sure of the percentages, I am pretty sure that if you do this religiously you are far in the minority. In todays busy world with the ability to communicate on a moments notice, we should all be doing this. Alas, we do not. The key here is to be GENUINE, people will smell the manipulator from a mile away. Be sincere, be specific and be genuine. The idea of a handwritten note can really make you stand out also…
* Pay it forward. Assist other Tech alumni and students who want to network with you.
It is a nice thought to think that we would all take the time to do this, no matter what walk of life we are involved in. To help others is one of the richest parts abut my life. To do something for others without the expectation of a thing in return, can be the most rewarding parts of my day…even if it is just holding the door for a perfect stranger.
Some final thoughts:
When I read this I could not help to think that this is something to share with young adults. Without the Tech title, it would be nice if young teenagers were able to adopt some of these habits. To be professional in their dress. Set goals and expectations that are realistic and stick to them. To develop an honest appreciation for their accomplishments and have the ability to communicate that to others in a concise manner. To be positively memorable to others. To be realistically optimistic about their future. To show GENUINE appreciation to others. Finally, to pay it forward so that others can benefit from you.
Everyday we have the opportunity to inspire others, yet so many times we pass it by. Sometimes it is just a smile or a hello, and at others it is just to listen and not respond. Search for ways to inspire those around you and your life will be more rewarding also.