The following is the opening excerpt of my most recent Career Column for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Read the entire column here, and let me know what you think!
When coaching job seekers, nothing fills the room more with tension than when I first mention the need for a networking strategy and methodology.
Introvert or extrovert, it makes no difference — the “networking elephant” enters the room and the person immediately gets uncomfortable!
There are many reasons we don’t like reaching out to friends for help, or trying to create new relationships with those in our field. There’s pride, lack of confidence, fear and the misperception networking is solely driven by ulterior motives.
But there’s also another, more specific reason. After years of talking to people about networking, I believe people simply don’t know what to say, or what they want out of the conversation. It’s awkward, uncomfortable and simply doesn’t come naturally.
“What if they ask me a question I can’t answer?”
“What if the conversation goes dead and no one has anything to say?”
“What if I look needy and stupid?!”
These are all understandable concerns as one embarks on a networking journey — and all the more reason you MUST have a plan.
Read the whole column here.