What Networking Really Is
My first career was as an attorney. And what do attorneys like? We like definitions. We like definition sections in agreements, so when someone says, let's refer to, and you're like no, no, go to the definitions section, what do we mean? So we're gonna change the definition. So, here's the deal. For me, networking is not this transactional activity, it is not a cocktail party. Networking, for me, that activity, is every single human interaction. So, for my studio audience, it was your decision to be here today. Did you leave an out-of-office message that told people you were gonna be here? Now, if you're watching this online, maybe you're tweeting it, maybe you've told other people, hey you should watch this, too. That, to me, is networking. How you introduced yourself to Laura, how you talked to Sheila, the crew here at CreativeLive, all of those decisions, to me, are networking. And, how you show up every single day says more about your character and who you are and whether or not pe...
ople wanna come to your aid and help you out than if you are the perfectly glossed together person with that firm handshake and the stack of business cards who can work a room. We can see that shark coming a mile away. But, who do you drop the phone for? Who do you pick up the phone for? Who, when someone contacts or you see something, you say, I got your back, I wanna be there, or, you know what, I'm gonna help you out? How do you live your life every day? That, to me, is networking. And, if we can start showing up a little bit better every single day. We can cut through that networking noise, we can get rid of that transactional feeling, we can take control of what it is we want to achieve. So much, for me, in terms of this sort of old view of networking, is we feel powerless. We think of networking as this activity we have to undertake because we're in need. A career change is a beautiful example of that. Starting a business. You're gonna meet one of your other, I wanna say, in-studio audience, in our next segment, but having a book that comes out. All of a sudden, we're in this powerless position and we think, boy, right now I have to turn this on 'cause I need people to help me. And we think about who's gonna help me, we think about it in terms of someone who is up here, the honcho, the boss, the knight who rides in on the white stallion. (laughs) I'm still waiting for that one. Prince Charming, yeah, no, not happening, right? We're waiting for this stranger who we think is gonna solve a problem, and we feel powerless. And, what I'm saying to you, is if you start thinking about networking this way, what I do every day, you in command of your own actions. You in command of how you treat other people, you in command of why you want to undertake activities, and why you choose to share information and how you expend your time, all of a sudden, gosh, there's still gonna be difficult situations, 'cause there's still gonna be awkward conversations, but it's so much more gratifying it is so much more confidence-building when you're in that. And, I'll be honest with you, it's a heck of a lot more fun, too. Not always a bowl of cherries. Not always a riot, but it is a lot more pleasurable when you start thinking about it that way. So, why does this all matter? I'm gonna jump into my story shortly, but everything in your career at some point you're gonna look back and you're gonna trace it to relationships. It's not gonna be traced to submitting a resume through an online portal on the right day at the right time. LinkedIn did a survey in 2017, and it was over 60%, it was close to 70% of people who took that survey, said they got jobs at companies because of somebody else they knew at that company. Think about the viewpoint of people who are receiving applications, or pitches say you have a startup and you've got a business. They're getting an unbelievable avalanche of information at them. How do they cut through the noise? When everyone is equally qualified? When every business pitch is equally gonna solve their problem, it comes down to human relationships. Who can vouch for you? This is how we find opportunities, this is how opportunities find us. So, that's why it's really, really vitally important when you think about where it is you wanna go in life and what you want to achieve. Why networking is building relationships. Not being the smooth talker, not being the life of the party, but as building genuine relationships, that's why it matters more than ever before. Before we get to me, let me just share a little something about my book, Build Your Dream Network. It is filled with case studies. From working up the corporate ladder, which is Joe Styler's story, to landing on a board, to crowdfunding. Yeah, I bet I said that word, and people thought, oh, I thought crowdfunding was marketing. Ah ha, I got bad news for you, it's about networking. It's about your network and people who've got your back, who are gonna come and help you out when you've got a passion project you need funded, right? People who have built businesses, built careers, no one in my book was born with a, I don't wanna say the silver spoon of a network in their mouth. They all built relationships and transformed their careers. Joe, and I brought Joe up at this point because he really typifies, I think, some of the struggle that so many people have with networking that we've already identified. As well as, what this new road map is. Joe, in my mind, is an extraordinary networker. He's moved his way up from an entry-level job to a coveted management role within his company, he's at Go Daddy. How's Joe done that? He's done that by investing in his skill set. He's done that by investing in his relationships. That's first and foremost with his colleagues, within his own department, but also across his company. He's built relationships within his industry. He's an extraordinary mentor. He's an extraordinary manager, so much so that everyone in the company, "Oh, you work for Joe? Let me poach your talent," His talent is poached all the time because he does that so well. Here's the one thing I haven't told you yet about Joe. He's an introvert. And not, Joe, if you're watching this, I know you'll chime in and you'll let me know that I'm right, he's not like mildly introverted. He's a profound introvert. I think in this day and age, and we had question at the beginning, you say, "How do you cut through the noise?" Intentional, deliberate, focused, kind, mentoring, giving back, taking an interest in your colleagues. People who are deliberate and focused, intentional, in my mind, are the most generous and the best networkers. And they're the ones, right now, in our 24/7 world, where we have so many options, our messy, complicated human lives just got turned up a notch, right? As soon as we all got mobile phones and apps and digital platforms. But, values and actions, behaviors like people like Joe, they're cutting through the noise, and they're succeeding magnificently. And no, he's not the life of the party. He's the person you wanna see at the office or at the industry conference every day. He's the person whose blog post you wanna read, who's on a panel that you wanna hear his opinions. That, to me, is the best networker.