Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Networking Help

While leaders tend to be very much people-focused, some, like me, are so focused on the mission (task) at hand that I ignore interacting with people in situations not directly related to the effort. For example, the art of networking is something that I used to not pay much attention too. Since it did not address the task at hand, I didn't do it. Well, that's a problem! You need a strong network to succeed as a leader, whether at work, searching for a new job (it is said that up to 85% of the jobs are found through networking), or any number of other leadership situations.

But you have to build a network before you need it, so that when you need it, it is there. How do you do it? You do it by reaching out, connecting, offering help, acting as a "maven" and go-between, not expecting much in return.

But it's hard. When I left my last corporate job I realized I needed help in this area. While some of my family can work a room as well as the best politicians anywhere, I'm a bit more shy (yes, whether you believe it or not. Saying hi to a stranger and starting a conversation is one of those things that can stop me. Yet I'll stand in front of a group of total strangers and deliver a day-long workshop at the drop of a hat. But going up to someone and saying "hi, I'm Jose Solera and I came to better understand what this group (whatever event I'm at) is doing. How about you?" can be very hard.) I have improved but got much more to go.

Well, at that point, I had the luck of running into Liz Lynch's Smart Networking book. Liz was like me. She struggled connecting with people. She described her challenges and has been so successful that she has made a business out of it. So, if networking is something you would like some helpful hints on, you can do no better than checking out her book.

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