The words “networking is a verb” were rolling around my head yesterday during a coaching session with one of my clients. It is not at all unusual for me to encounter resistance to networking from my CFO clients. For many, it just isn’t in their DNA. In fact, for some it is way, way outside their comfort zones. Or, they are just too busy in their jobs to network … or so they say.
This particular Finance Chief is well-known in his community. He says he “knows” the important people that he needs to know and who need to know about him. Which is great. My question to him was, “will they think of you first when an opportunity arises”? Or, will they think of the person they also know who actively stays on their radar screen? I believe it is the latter.
Knowing people -and- staying top of mind with people you know are two entirely different things. You can be known but not remembered when somebody needs a new Chief Financial Officer. You can be known but quickly forgotten when business and life get busy. You can even be known but not have made a memorable impression.
Networking is a verb. You don’t “have” to network in your career. But if you don’t …
— that dream opportunity may never reach you
Many of the really great opportunities come through people who know and trust you. If they know you, but there is no relationship, there probably isn’t trust either.
— those who snooze, loose
If your competition is actively networking, highly visible, communicating a clear value proposition to the right target audience … and you aren’t, well, you snooze, you lose.
— your networking muscle will continue to deteriorate
If you aren’t networking because [insert any excuse here], but the underlying reason is F.E.A.R. [hey, I’m an introvert, too … I totally empathize], not doing it will only make that gremlin grow bigger and bigger … and one excuse after another will ensure you don’t engage in networking.
Here’s what you need to decide … am I going to network or am I going to choose not to network. It is your decision. If you choose to network, begin long before you want to make a move.