Plugging Into a Warm Network

By Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, Ph.D. 

“My brother lost his job,” said my friend, Sam. Will you give him some tips? I asked how much of a network his brother  had and Sam turned to me with a shoulder shrug. “What do you think?” We both had discussed his brother’s tendancy to stay in the background in work and in life so I knew the answer. Not much.

Plugging into a cold network of professional and personal connections is hard. People want to know that you are interested in them from time to time, not just when you are job seeking.

So if Sam’s sibling does want to talk to me, I will suggest that he waste no time in connecting with work and professional colleagues, past and present.

I will also share three steps he can take immediately.

  1. Prepare 5 questions to ask your contacts on your phone meetings. Show genuine interest in their challenges and successes. It is not all about you. How can you demonstrate knowledge and competence and learn as much as you can in your networking meetings?
  2. Study names and use them. Repeat them at least 5 times ( saying it in your head is fine!)
  3. When you attend networking events,  follow the advice of a wise introverted networker, He says ” I tell myself I can do anything for 30 minutes!”

And if Sam’s brother doesn’t want to meet with me, that’s okay. I can go ahead and follow my own advice.


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