In college, it’s called socializing; in business it’s called networking. You do the same thing; it’s just that your clothes aren’t as sexy.
One CEO told me, “My wife encourages sleepovers for the kids and sports so that they learn to network from the start.”
So a few tips to do daily:
-have the goal to get visible to a wider range of people, that’s all
-anticipate discomfort — they feel it too — so push those silly feelings aside and be the one that makes them feel comfortable
-take four minutes out of your day to initiate a call, write a note, forward a link, pick up the phone to follow-up, congratulate, inquire, or whatever
That’s it. Once a day. In a year (giving yourself time off for holidays) you’ll have over 300 engagements that you initiated. That’s like 265 more than you did last year, right!?
CEOs have told me this about their networking activity:
-“One of my biggest regrets is the contacts I’ve let drop over time.” (Mine too!)
-“My rule is to follow-up four times with one individual. Nothing ever happens with just one contact.”
-“Maybe someone accuses me of schmoozing, I just view it as being accessible, professional, and confident.”
-And my favorite, “You’re only one phone call away from changing your life.”
Whether you like it or not, you’re building a reputation the day you start your career. Everything you do stays with you forever in some person’s mind — and it’s within your control if you take the initiative.