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Networking is Helping, So Here’s How to Help


Robby

If there’s one aspect of the professional world that is grossly misunderstood, it’s the word “networking.” When I meet people who are out of work in Indianapolis—as well as people who want better jobs, more prospects, or just more opportunities—I always ask where they are networking.

And more than half shrug or look at me funny. Because they don’t know what that word means. Networking isn’t being pushy or brown-nosing. Networking is helping. That’s it.

Helping someone
© Flickr User Anthony Albright

When you meet someone when you’re networking, you should try and find a way to help them. But for a lot of folks, they don’t know what they can do to help. They don’t have a big list of contacts to make introductions. They aren’t in the market for their products or services. They don’t have information the other person needs. Here’s some ways you can be helpful to a person you’ve just met.

Listen.

This has to be the oldest way to help other people. We spend way too much time talking. Ask a question, and shut up. Try “tell me more” or “what makes you say that?” or “how did you get interested in this?” or “what advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?”

Sometimes the best thing you can do for someone is to lend them an ear.

Ask what their challenges are.

Everybody is struggling with something. The word “challenges”, however, makes us think of obstacles which would be exciting to overcome rather than those we might be ashamed to discuss. Asking people what challenges they are facing in their business or their career can be a great way to get ideas for how to help.

Offer to research something for them.

All of us could use more time researching. We rarely have the chance to consider our options, or even to know what all the option are.

Some examples of research areas could be professional associations your contact could consider, competitors they have not heard of, trends in their industry, or new technologies or approaches. Most people can admit something they’d like to know more about. Become a bit of an expert and help them out!

Ask if there is anything they need feedback on.

It’s tough to see our own work objectively. If you’ve ever tried to edit something you wrote, you may have found yourself making obvious mistakes that are invisible to you because you’re the writer.

Some ideas for feedback include marketing material, resumes, or their elevator pitch. You can even offer suggestions about fashion or appearance. Just make sure not to offer feedback without finding out if they want it first!

Be positive and supportive.

Emotions are contagious. The best one you can share in most every situation is being upbeat and supportive. So remember to always bring your positive attitude.


Go out there and network. And remember, networking is helping! All you have to do is help, and people will appreciate you—and want to help you, too!

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About the Blogger:

Robby Slaughter is a productivity speaker and expert. He is a principal with a AccelaWork, an Indianapolis consulting firm.

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Tue, May 9 2017 » Career Planning and Goal Setting, Self Development

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