Briefing Notes: You Had Me at Hello

Published: February 9, 2020

“The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.” — Keith Ferrazzi


WORTH YOUR ATTENTION

We all KNOW that networking is important. It’s always been. In the age of artificial intelligence, cultivating strong professional (human 🤭) connections is essential. No matter if you’re employed or self-employed. Whether you’re looking for a job or not.

But for a card-carrying introvert like me, this is definitely one of those “easier-said-than-done” things. I know. It’s hard.

There are two things most of us hate about networking. One is it tends to be transactional. The other is that it makes us feel a bit vulnerable. Like, reaching out to ask someone to put in a good word for us, or getting a lead about a new opportunity, can make us feel …. uhm … desperate (shouldn’t I be able to do this on my own??).

But as self-described introvert and veteran tech executive Karen Wickre outlines in this TED piece, An Introvert’s Advice for Networking, every one of us will have to ask for help from someone else at some point. We’re normally happy to extend a hand (or an ear) to other people. Isn’t it about time we feel OK about asking help for ourselves too?

The key to overcoming our unease about networking is to practice a little bit every day. And to do it when we don’t need specific help.

If you do this when you’re not feeling needy, you will begin to see yourself as a giver, not a taker. And if you can occasionally solve problems for others as a result of these check-ins, it will help you get over your fear of feeling needy.

Wickre suggests a habit called “loose-touch”, which allows her to stay engaged with those with whom she may not regularly connect (aka, weak and dormant ties).

Loose touch moments serve as connective tissue and a marker of your ongoing relationship.

Especially if you’re not a natural networker, what’s important with this practice is to keep the effort small. The moment it starts to feel burdensome is the moment we stop doing it.


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WORTH A READ

Like a lot of corporate chieftains, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is a book person. In an on-stage interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, he discussed no fewer than five of them, averaging one mention of a book every six minutes over the course of the half-hour session. 😱 Here’s a rundown in case you want to round out your bookshelf with titles endorsed by the leader of the world’s second-biggest company by market value.


WORTH WATCHING

Feeling a bit stuck and lacking the motivation to work on your goals? Mel Robbins (author of 5 Second Rule) and Tom Bilyeu (Impact Theory host) chat over on YouTube re: why she says motivation is garbage and what we can do instead.


WORTH A LISTEN

We live in a world where NOT having any kind of online presence is a red flag. It’s now expected that we have some kind of baseline that establishes our identity in a verifiable way. Fast Company’s podcast, Secrets of the Most Productive People, tackles the question — What should your online presence say about you? — with Dorie Clark, author of Reinventing You. If anything, you’ll learn what NOT to put in your LinkedIn headline. Listen on Spotify.


WORTH MULLING OVER A CUP

“Everything involves sacrifice. Everything includes some sort of a cost. Nothing is pleasurable or uplifting all the time. The question then becomes, “what struggle or sacrifice are you willing to tolerate?” — Mark Manson


WORTH A VISIT TO THE BOOKSTORE (OR AMAZON)

Stand Out Networking: A Simple and Authentic Way to Meet People on Your Own Terms*
by Dorie Clark
Forbes and Harvard Business Review contributor Dorie Clark makes clear in this short and actionable guide, networking done right is nothing like the stereotype. It’s not about making shallow, insincere connections and filling your wallet with business cards. Instead, the real goal is to turn brief encounters into mutually-beneficial and lasting friendships—in both your personal and professional life.

*This is an Amazon Affiliate Link. If you purchase using this link, I’ll get a small commish that may get me half a Starbucks latté.


SECOND BREAKS UPDATES

Remove the Stress in Launching Your Post-Retirement Career. Mary Beth Simon of Niche Partnership Consulting reveals the steps she took to kick off her new career (after packing up her office) with minimal angst. Listen to Ep 122 on your mobile device.

That’s a wrap! The Side Hustle Series has now ended. If you want to get caught up with all the inspiring stories (there’s something from everyone), you can check out all the back episodes in the season, from Ep 117 to 121.


LAST WORD

One of my words for the year is CONNECT. So I’m highly motivated to try the loose-touch habit that Wickre suggests in the TED article.

I’m going to test this out starting this month. I commit to carrying out her suggested steps for two months. I’ll report back in April. Hold me to this. This is my public commitment 😉

Best wishes for a productive week. Hit ‘reply’ and send comments, networking hacks, or eyebrow-raising LinkedIn headlines.

Keep on making your dent,
Lou Blaser


ABOUT LOU BLASER

A former management consultant and IT leader, Lou Blaser is the editor of Briefing Notes and the host of the Second Breaks podcast. She is also the author of Break Free: The Courage to Reinvent Yourself and Your career. Lou’s work is focused on helping experienced professionals navigate an evolving work landscape so they can continue their impact and relevance in a changing world.

The world of work is changing.

Stay smart about it.

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