My name is NG LIN JOO in full and Joyous Richeous is my nickname I pick for myself. I love my name as it brings happiness to all of us, yes, all of us. You will know why as you read further. The…
I have some coaching clients who are looking for work or are looking to make a career pivot or secure a promotion. This can sometimes involve the need to meet influential people who have the ability to make hiring decisions.
But how does anyone network these days, in this increasingly distributed working environment nowadays?
It’s so much harder to serendipitously get into conversation with someone. There’s no “water cooler” to gather around (although I am yet to see this mythical object in an office IRL!?). And “getting a coffee” with someone pretty much looks, feels, and smells no different from any other Zoom meeting you just had today.
Maybe you’re out of work and only see your cat and the mail carrier. Maybe you’ve gone to a perma-remote situation or work for yourself. Or maybe you’re hybrid but when you go into the office, it’s a ghost town.
I’ve been thinking about this a bit more of late. I recently started offering my services as a UX Strategy Consultant (in addition to my coaching practice). Luckily, I have an established network after 20 years in the software industry and have been feeling grateful for the outreach, connections, and a fresh perspective on where my skills and experiences are of most value. But what if that hadn’t been the case?
I hosted a workshop last week where this topic came up. I asked how the participants were tackling this; how they were making themselves visible and known to people they hadn’t met before? A common response was to add them as a connection on LinkedIn.
I’ll admit I’ve been guilty of this too. But when you have no connections in common, you’ve never worked together and there’s no note accompanying the connection request, this kind of networking is not real networking.
This is nothing more than connections collecting.
It’s the digital equivalent of business card swapping. Remember getting home after a conference? You’d empty out your pockets, barely remembering the faces of the people whose cards you obtained. You might pause for a second over that one with the nice pastel color palette or rub your finger back and forth over the embossed logo, before adding them to the stash of other cards you had from last time, or “filing them” (a.k.a. the bin/trash).
By “real networking”, I’m referring to the creation of meaningful connectedness — and a relationship of mutual benefit in the long term.
Although there appears to be no magic solution that works every time, here are some ideas for you to consider making your own, that are an improvement to the connection collection game:
In a nutshell, some of the old rules still apply to networking: find ways to form deeper connections and make yourself memorable. We just need to be creative about how to do it in this disconnected world. But most of all… in all of your conversations, and to the extent that you are comfortable (which I appreciate is harder for some of you than others): I encourage you to do what feels natural and just be you.
#coaching #networking #remoteworking #career #careergrowth #connections
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