In the professional realm, networking has become an inevitable necessity. The truth is, most people aren’t networking in the most efficient way possible.
In William Duggan’s book, The Seventh Sense, he outlines the strategy for “idea networking.” This isn’t simply meeting dozens of people and hoping a few conversations pan out.
With idea networking, you target one specific influential person in your field. Contact the person through phone, email, or in person. You want to avoid talking about yourself and what you’re looking for (a new job, etc.). Instead, you want to focus on a specific idea.
Is there something in your field that especially excites you? Formulate an intriguing question around that topic. You want the question to be specific enough that an expert in your industry would be interested in the conversation, yet general enough that there’s room for the conversation to take different directions.
When you get a chance to connect with one influential person in your field, it can open doors for future meetings. Duggan recommends ending the conversation by asking for a few other people who would be interested in discussing your question. From there, you repeat the cycle.
Your experience and professional skills are important assets, but your ideas and ability to communicate speak volumes about you as an asset in the workplace. To put your best foot forward, you need to communicate effectively.
NPR host Terry Gross offers some great communication advice. Although her on-air interviews may be different than conversations you’ll have with your professional connections, the tips translate well.
Firstly, “Tell me about yourself,” is the best icebreaker….
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