Written by Anthony Demangone
I am not a great networker. At least out of the office. Internally, I do a decent job of making and maintaining relationships within NAFCU's walls. But outside, I could do a much better job.
Reading this article really drove home that point. In "Never Say No to Networking," Kathryn Minshew makes some important points.
The best networking suggestion I can offer? Always say yes to invitations, even if it's not clear what you'll get out of the meeting. I'm not arguing for long, pointless, unstructured conversations with everyone you meet. But many of my most fruitful relationships have resulted from a meeting or call in which I was not entirely sure what would or would not come of the conversation.
You could call it making your own luck, by increasing the odds of making the right connection. Because you can't assume that you know much about someone you don't know very well. You may know their occupation, industry, and job title — but you don't know what they may be an expert in, and you certainly don't know who they know.
She acknowledges that it isn't easy.
You may be asking, how can I make these connections in the first place? Show up, and often. This should be obvious, but as a busy entrepreneur it's amazing how unappealing it is to socialize with people you don't know when you're working 16-hour days. But everything starts with showing up.
Commit to going to one industry-related event per week, then three, then eight. Sign up for events newsletters in your industry (The Fetch and Charlie O'Donnell's This Is Going to Be BIG are good examples for the New York City area). People also tend to offer opportunities to those who are most recently in their memory. I can't tell you the number of times I've gone to an event and exchanged a few warm sentences with someone I haven't connected with in a while — only to hear from them a few days later: "This opportunity to speak / present / fundraise / partner / win an award crossed my desk, and I thought of you." Why did they think of me? Because I'm a good fit for the opportunity, and they saw me yesterday. Be the person they saw yesterday as often as possible.
Good advice, I think. But here's my question to you - do you have any networking advice for a new credit union executive? If so, please share.
And with that, have a great week.