By Kam Minhas
Keith Bogen is a networking educator with a unique style of public speaking. The power of his message is he speaks not from theory books, but his heart and personal experience. Much like networking one-on-one, his first statement to the audience is that he believes in having a conversation and not following slides.
Keith defines networking as something we do all the time, whether consciously or unconsciously. Any time we speak to someone we are networking. Some of his key points on making your networking experience more meaningful:
- When networking do not ask for a job or discuss your job search. This is an even bigger “no” when meeting someone from your past.
- Networking is not about you, it is about the other person. It is about how you can help the other person. If you help someone, they are not likely to forget the favor. One day they may return the favor. When you meet someone, ask him or her to talk about themselves. When you provide your own introduction, identify your name and very briefly your title. Dare to be different through a story or phrase that they are likely to remember.
- Network while you are still employed. A person who works hard but does not take the time to network with others in their company or industry, may find themself in the layoff pool, because someone else took credit for their work!
- Make great impressions by being positive and saying positive things about other people.
- Do not be a “people hogger” at meetings. At most, stay with a person for five minutes. If you find the person you are speaking with uninteresting, limit your time to two minutes.
- Arrive early at events or leave late so that you give yourself enough time to network.
- Stay connected to the people in your network. Acknowledge their birthdays; share an interesting article; praise them if they change their picture on LinkedIn; complement them on a job promotion. Find creative ways to stay connected.
- Take advantage of networking opportunities even in informal settings, for example when grocery shopping.
I was at Wegman’s, husking corn, when I remembered Keith’s presentation. I started a conversation, asking a fellow corn husker how she differentiated good corn from the bad. This started a three minute conversation that made the task of cleaning the corn more interesting—and I left her with my business card.
You never know where the conversation with an individual will lead, so do not refain from trying. For further reference to Keith’s presentation please visit, http://psgcnj.org/media_library.html.
Keith Bogen is a Human Resources Business Partner, Networking Educator, Human Capital Enrichment Expert, and Public Speaker. For more information about Keith, visit his LinkedIn page at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/keithbogen