Last week I wrote about the networking faux pas of a friend of mine. As I continue to mull over the ignorance (and that is exactly what it was) of that action and coach current CFO clients, there are two clear, repetitive themes underlying the barrier to effective networking.
1 – A hatred for networking
2 – Not enough time to network
Let me take the second objection first.
Not having time to network tells me that this one action, which is vital to your career, just isn’t important to you. We all have the same amount of time every day, every week, every month … to do the things which we deem important. Networking is important. And you only realize how important it is when you’ve lost your job or leave your job and you have NO network to tap.
Make the time. Put it on your calendar and respect it as an appointment you keep for yourself. It’s that important.
Hate might be too strong of a word, but certainly there are very intense negative emotions that surround the idea of networking. That is especially true for those who, like Finance Chiefs, don’t always score a high “I” on the DISC profile. The idea of chit-chatting about seemingly meaningless stuff with people they may or may not share interests doesn’t rank among things they prefer doing.
Combine that concept with the fact that we tend to “make” networking something bigger, uglier, and/or more intimidating than it actually is, it can quickly become something we hate doing. In reality, we all network and we do it much of the time.
We talk to people. We ask about their lives, their families. We listen to problems or challenges they are having, and sometimes offer insights or provide possible solutions. Professional networking is just that … listening to others, and when appropriate, sharing you insights as a subject matter expert.
Stop hating – or feeling any other sort of negative – and start networking. It is that important.
You may not want -or even need- a job today. But at some point you will want -and possibly even need- a job, and a solid in-place network will go far towards easing that future transition.