What value does face to face networking bring?

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This topic has been top of mind for me this week. I saw a sponsored Facebook post pop up in my feed saying, “Grow your business without having to network”. The ad was selling an online sales strategy – a model that often saturates our social media feeds and inboxes (if lured to their freebies in exchange for our email address). Whilst I have been looking at boosting my coaching business’s online strategy, and can see this model’s potential for success, I am mindful of getting the right level of authenticity when promoting my services, especially in the online world.

So, what does this have to do with networking?

I have always actively put myself ‘out there’ to meet others. In person. This has been a successful marketing tool for my business. I enjoy the organic nature of this approach and feel there is strength in building meaningful professional relationships. My business offers coaching to people to help manage their career and job search with proactive networking techniques and I find that most people are initially resistant to networking because it seems ‘salesy’. It doesn’t have to be and here’s why:

  • Start with coffee conversations. Who can you catch up with that you haven’t seen for a while?
  • Know your story. What’s going on for you in business, work or life? Share what’s working well and don’t be afraid to talk briefly about a specific challenge if you think it’s appropriate. They might have the answer you need.
  • Understand you values and motivators. This is pretty important as these are the things that drive you. Is there a particular cause or project you truly care about or hold close to your heart? This answer’s the question about WHY we do things.
  • Know your offering. How do you make a difference in business, work or life? What is your particular area of expertise and how does it transform or help others?

Knowing yourself well leads to understanding and promoting your personal and professional brand. When this is clear you can give an essence of ‘you’ both in person and across social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram (these are my top three). These online tools encourage and help people to engage which can lead to connecting directly via messaging and/or being directed to your website to find out more.

Now, back to the coffee conversations…

  • Be curious about the person you’re meeting with. Whether it’s a colleague, friend, school parent, potential client treat the conversation with friendly professionalism and ask – what’s news with you? Actively listen to their story and if you have a tip, advice, can refer them or simply a sounding board, then you are being generous with your time and energy.
  • Follow up with a short appreciative email or text if you think it’s appropriate and share any info you said you’d follow up on.
  • Connect on social media if you haven’t already (using the right tool for the audience – I often suggest LinkedIn as it’s the most professional).

Networking doesn’t just happen over coffee or social media though. It happens all the time. Here’s some ways that I connect (that have led to successful business referrals):

  • Cohoots coworking meeting roomCoworking space
  • Contracting
  • Train / commute
  • Short course / conference
  • Committees
  • Business association
  • Volunteering / community involvement
  • Friends and family
  • Hairdresser (think about it – they chat with lots of people every day!)

To summarise, know your value, your offering, your area of expertise and tell your story far and wide. And be yourself. No one needs the pressure of someone directly selling something. It’s much easier to be genuine in your conversations and people will be interested to find out more. By following up with an email or social media connection keeps the conversation going and if they want to engage further they know where to find you. You never know when the people you meet and the discussions you have will lead to a job opportunity or a business referral so think about the message you give.

I’ve written step by step tips to strengthen your networking skills HERE.

I’ve also included information to Simon’s Sinek’s ‘Start with Why‘ as I think it’s a good way to remind us of our purpose.

Get in touch with Genevieve for a coaching session on networking skills or how to optimise your LinkedIn.

Top image by photographer Lucy Foster of LuLu Snap
Smaller image taken by Gen

 

Position yourself for career success

Goodlife Careers-5652_SAMPLEIs it time for a career change? Are you feeling stuck in your current job and want to explore regional employment opportunities?

Come along to this three hour workshop to map out a career plan, with practical steps you can start straight away plus a job search strategy that will set you on track to reaching your career goals.  Continue reading “Position yourself for career success”

Smarten up your LinkedIn profile in one hour

by Genevieve WardLinkedIn

Whether I’m coaching job seekers, career changers or people wanting to start a business, they often struggle with LinkedIn. This is because they don’t see the value, are concerned about their privacy or find it’s time consuming for little return.  Continue reading “Smarten up your LinkedIn profile in one hour”

Calm your nerves at interview

I’ve started doing live Facebook videos called Career Chat over Coffee and this week the topic was about how to combat nerves when going for interview.

Interview Photo

This morning I’m going to chat with you about interviewing and how to:

  • Reduce the nerves
  • Have a good idea about what to say
  • How to answer tricky questions

If you’re walking out of the interview meeting wishing you had said things or done things differently, here’s some ways you can avoid these feelings of regret.  Continue reading “Calm your nerves at interview”

Target your next job prospect through your contacts

Career Coffee Networking

In a coaching session last week my client, Zara* was sharing her ideas in setting up a not-for-profit (NFP) organisation.  As she was speaking I noticed myself pondering who I might know that could help her. I made a couple of suggestions then stopped and asked, ‘What is it that you need most help with?’ She replied, ‘I need to speak with someone who has already set up a successful NFP.’ Done. I knew just the person and sent an e-introduction. They are now on their way to meeting up and Zara is shouting my friend lunch.  Continue reading “Target your next job prospect through your contacts”

Start your new job on the right foot

by Genevieve Ward

New Job First Day

I work with job seekers on a set three month Career Program which keeps my clients focussed, on track, motivated and equipped with the skills to find their ideal role sooner rather than later. I’ve been asked, ‘What if I find a job before our program ends – say two months into the program?’ To which I reply, ‘Not only is that a fantastic outcome, but our career coaching doesn’t stop when you get a job!’ Here’s some food for thought about integrating into your new role and future proofing your career with continued growth and development.  Continue reading “Start your new job on the right foot”

Feeling supported through change

Sunflower TRI recently said to my partner, “Oh I’ve picked up some work on a factory closure that starts next week”. He replied, “What a shame for the workers!” He’s absolutely right. He went straight to the heart of the situation – the emotions the staff members will experience when facing the prospect of finding a new job.

As a Career Coach, my role is to soften the blow for the people affected by organisational restructures by guiding workers to think about what’s next, get their resume updated, build their interview skills and their confidence throughout the redundancy process.  Continue reading “Feeling supported through change”

It’s time to get that job

If you’re in the job hunting game but have been taking a laissez-faire approach and delaying the inevitable, it might be time to re-group and take a more structured approach to your search. Here’s five tips to get you back on track.  Continue reading “It’s time to get that job”

Time for a Resume Refresh

When was the last time you dusted off your resume? I’m guessing when you last applied for a job. It’s true for me too. I coach people in developing a marketable resume and when I last looked at mine I was a bit embarrassed!

The approach I take when helping people strengthen their resume is to focus on layout and then the content. In this post I’m going to list ways to improve the readability of your resume through some formatting suggestions:  Continue reading “Time for a Resume Refresh”

Finding Your First Job

school booksMany of my clients are people who are mid-way through their career and looking at a change in direction, but from time to time I help people just starting out in the world of work. I have provided coaching and resume support to high school students who are making decisions about their future and on the hunt for a part time job.

If you’re a teenage job seeker, here’s some things to help put your best foot forward when finding work.  Continue reading “Finding Your First Job”