Compliments of: Janine Moon, MA, Career & Business Coach
Thurs, Jan 15/04
7:30 to 9:30 am
Wedgewood Golf & Country Club
Register by Jan 12:
Thurs, Jan 22/04
7:30 to 9:30 am
Bank One Corporate
Register by Jan 19:
"Do You Play Well With Others? Business Etiquette for Grown-Ups,"
Hahn Loeser & Parks, Cleveland.
"Networking & Rainmaking,"
GBQ Partners, Columbus.
"Networking: Small Talk, Smart Talk & Self-Talk,"
Business & Professional Women, Columbus.
"Resilience When You Need It,"
North Broadway United Methodist Church, Columbus.
"A Taste of Coaching,"
Longaberger Alumni House, Columbus.
"Investing in Your Workforce,"
American Public Power Association, Atlanta.
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Because we don’t talk anymore
When was the last time you “networked” and enjoyed yourself? When you didn’t obsess about what you would say to people you didn’t know? When you didn’t worry that no one would find you interesting? When you didn’t feel tongue-tied? When you left the event satisfied that you had helped or provided assistance to a number of people? When you lost track of time and found yourself among the last to leave? When you struck up conversations with strangers yet found a commonality with each? When you listened—really listened—to people’s words and feelings?
Networking—a late 20th century concept that centers around carrying on a conversation—became a chore somewhere between the time that “visiting” with friends and neighbors came to an end and e-mail began to replace face-to-face conversation. Networking—or conversing—is nothing more than a stopping point along the continuum of relationship building… with “public speaking” at one end and “intimate whispering” at the other. Conversation has become something of a lost art, and this thing we call networking may seem at times to be a forced method of creating a relationship that doesn’t yet exist… which it is.
But a relationship, by its very definition, is a growing and changing thing always with a beginning and frequently (sometimes unfortunately) with an end. Its growth is always defined by the people involved and it is advanced or arrested by the give and take of each. Too much “take” and the relationship slows or stops; a shared amount of “give” and the relationship develops along with friendship and respect.
When I was growing up in northwest Ohio, the local weekly, The Metamora Record, had a column that was akin to gossip, but spoke to how relationships developed. The column listed who visited whom on Sunday afternoon, who had dinner (as opposed to supper!) with whom on Sunday and who hosted and attended the Wednesday evening card party. With life at a slower pace, we spent time with friends and valued the importance of that time.
As our lives became busier and technology made multi-tasking the rule, we found less time to visit and intentionally grow relationships outside of our home and work boundaries. We settled for the relationships that were close in proximity, giving up broader and wider relationships. In the process, we lost the art of conversation and the ability to comfortably grow relationships.
While the process may not be as natural to us as it once was, networking (or carrying on a conversation) with others can be an enjoyable process…or at least one that can be less painful. Focusing on these thoughts can make any networking activity more productive:
1- Focus on giving, not taking. I challenge you to go to your next networking opportunity with the sole intention of giving something to every person you meet, and looking for nothing in return. Listen for information you can provide, connections you can make, suggestions to assist in a search, or recommendations to clear up confusion. Do not think about what you’ll get in return. You will… just not that minute or hour or day. It will come around to you in good time. Be patient. If someone asks what you want to get out of the event, tell him or her that your objective is to give to every person you meet.
2- Approach people at the gathering who are standing alone and looking uncomfortable. By easing someone else’s discomfort, you will be giving a gift of confidence and caring. Ask questions to get people talking about themselves—we all like to talk about ourselves but don’t often have the opportunity. Find out why the person is attending… what they’re hoping to leave with… whom you might connect them with so they can achieve their goals, etc.
3- Be prepared with a few topical comments, especially on local issues or recent newsmakers… to contribute to the conversation. But most of all, focus on the person you’re talking to and listen, really listen to what ‘s being said. Keep your focus on the speaker… don’t glance over his/her shoulder looking at who more interesting may be walking in your direction. By listening carefully, you’ll more easily identify commonalities and ways of giving to the individual.
Listening… asking questions… and giving—these are the keys to networking with ease. Just as the spirit of giving envelopes our most memorable holidays, so does that same giving spirit bring a warm sense of satisfaction to our networking opportunities.
“To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.”
Looking for a new and intriguing topic for your conference program, lunch series, or seminar/workshop schedule? Consider Janine as a keynoter, workshop leader or breakout session facilitator on these topic areas (each tailored to your audience): How's Your RQ: Resilience Quotient?; Generational Synergies; Treading Water in Corporate America; Career R&R: Career Resilience & Self-Reliance; Mentoring; and Authentic Leadership.
Relationships are how you “get on” in the world. They will be your most important and timely sources for growth and career opportunities. As a coach, I help you foster the spirit of giving that opens you up to new and different connections—and added possibilities—for your career path. -JM
If you have thought about coaching, but just aren’t sure how to begin, call or e-mail me, I’ll introduce you to coaching and you can “try it on” with no commitment, only learning! – JM
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