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Attending networking events in a group setting can be challenging. Getting results from attending them as a job seeking professional requires some do’s and don’ts.
Andrew and Scott discuss the Good and the Bad from the trenches of networking both as job seekers and as employed executives.
Don’t miss these Topics:
- The components of successful group events from the perspective of the host and the job seeking attendees
- Strategies that work and strategies that don’t work so well when you are in the trenches at a networking event.
- What you control and what you con’t control when you get to the event.
- Evaluating group events and evaluating which ones you will attend again (or not).
Resources (including affiliate links)
iTunes: Rate and Review
Raw and Unedited Transcript
00:00:00 – 00:05:02
Looking to job seekers radio. I’m Andrew, and I’m Scott this production is meant for you the job seeking professional to provide meaningful support to get great careers faster. Whether you’re working or not today seekers radio, we continue our talk about networking from the trenches. Yeah, we’re going to talk a little more about the good and the bad. What happens and this time we want to talk about group events these are the networking events. That may be created by different groups that have different affinities different starting points different perspectives. It could be industry based it could be professional level. Whatever starts that conversation. And they put together an event where people get together these things can go well, and sometimes they don’t go. So well, so we wanna talk about some of the experiences that we’ve had with that. And how to navigate that. Because it’s not always really apparent what the best thing to do. We’re really looking to. Give you some ideas. Good and bad about how to optimize your group experience. And there’s many different types of groups vailable be really clear about your expectations from any group of bent that you’re going to attend and stabs those up front. Absolutely. Every one of these groups has a purpose. Okay. So I think about one that I was involved in years ago that it was really just executives and top management positions. Everything from a director, like department director on up to CEO’s, and they really wanted to maximize the connections made at that level makes perfect sense. There were some good things that came of at some not so good things of it. There’s another group that I have been involved in that has absolutely no limits to who can attend, and you can imagine how many different kinds of people attend diversity. Yes. God, what’s? Really interesting was even though I talked to others. Oh, well, I don’t meet anybody worthwhile. Those I’ve not gonna go. I’ve actually made some of my best friends networking friends from those kinds of groups. And I really think it’s the diversity that makes that happen. You realize where you are in the greater scheme of things, and the they’re going to be people there that have it worse than you. There are going to be people who actually have it better than you. And what can we learn from this as we approach the different group events and think about what the purpose of that group may be if we have an open mind, what may come of that? Then the chances are pretty good. We’re going to get something. Good from it. It really depends on what you put into it. If there are membership requirements, you have to be on a certain level or you have to be able to have X number of contacts. I remember being involved in a group years ago that you had to have at least one. Hundred and fifty connections Lincoln or they wouldn’t allow you in the group. Interesting. Well, because they wanted this to be a networking, and so you had to be able to offer something to the group. It wasn’t just they didn’t want any takers come in. Well, you know in that case, I would be the philosophy. Hey, I’m not going to jump over the bar. I’ll just walk underneath of it. Right. Well, and one of the things I remember talking to the moderator about this. Okay. Well, maybe someone is new to the platform, and they don’t have a lot of connections. But they’re really talented. Why would we exclude that person? Of course, it was the response was because we want them to be able to offer a reach to others who need it. And if he is talented that he’s going to get those hundred fifty and join later. Okay. I will give the moderator credit. He made it up front. This is what those requirements are as opposed to keeping things sort of hush hush. And I really like the type. Groups that have their stuff together for me. That’s value. That’s an expectation. I have when I go to these groups that they’re they’re somewhat organized. I mean, they don’t have to be rigid. What they have a leadership team they’re organized. They have a purpose and they facilitate a program of some kind doesn’t need to be perfect or that perfectionist kind of mentality. But I like to know that when I’m going to this that there’s going to be a return on my investment because I find when I go to these groups I end up making more contributions, which makes me feel good. Yes. But I don’t sometimes take anything away from that. And there’s good and bad with that too. I agree. What you get out of it. What you put into it? And don’t keep giving into these events. If you’re not getting anything out of them. Unless of course, it’s just a fun time. If you know by all means tales and order a who. I nothing wrong with that at the same time. There would be a cultural fit there.
00:05:02 – 00:10:03
You’re going to your values are going to mess with the. The values that you see in place at these events. Whether that’s haywar schmoozing. It’s it’s really just a game here, and we’re gonna make all these connections. And we’ll see where they lead us. And and it’s really just a numbers game. There’s nothing wrong with that. If you’re really looking for deep connection and long-term professional relationships, and that’s the purpose of the group, and it stated up front, and that’s what resonates well, that’s probably going to work for you. But if you’re looking for those deep relationships, and you go to the group that really is just about schmoozing that may not feel so good so pay attention to that. It’s unwise to go in with an expectation that you know, is not going to be that. And if you’re going to a place where you haven’t been before, and you’re meeting group, I can remember vividly a new group that I was interacting with they were meeting at a bar, which was like, that’s no big deal. I’ve met at bars for these kind of things before. And they had a room set aside. But when you win in this place, literally it was like being in the dark the lights were down low. You can hardly see across the room. It was really an this was Scott. This was a professional networking, meaning that’s weird. And it was really bizarre. Yeah. At that leads to a really good point, especially if you’re organizing the event, it’s important to pay attention to whether or not it’s a welcoming event, I think it’s important for anyone who coordinates or puts these things on the leader of the event has a primary responsibility to introduce the new people to those who’ve come in the past that is just the the role of the host, right? The new people are not going to necessarily be the first to put their hand out and introduce themselves and do that I feel bad for the the newcomers who don’t get welcomed in by the leadership. There’s. Also responsibility by those who have been for while and know the other people in the room to reach out and welcome new people. It’s just not good business. Whether it’s at in a workplace or at a networking event. It’s not good business to expect the new person to welcome himself into the environment or herself into the environment. That’s just not. Okay. So that’s how these things can go bad. Yes. You could end up coming to the thing. And it might be a great group of people. But if they’re in their little cliques all around the area and not interacting with other people. If that’s not something that’s in alignment with your core values, you’re not going to be comfortable there. If you set up the event that we’re in our click see if you can get in. Now, you’re going to get the people who actually want that challenge that could be a really good fit. Because now you peel back the layers of the onion to get to the stuff you really looking for that could be really effective. You’re also going to have a more. Group because not everybody feels comfortable doing that. But it’s honest, you’re telling the truth and in telling the truth you build trust. This is that effort that goes into a networking event. Everybody involved needs to have something to do. It’s going to take an effort if you’re organizing it it is incumbent upon you to facilitate those introductions if you’re a regular member, it’s incumbent upon you to be open to those introductions and pay attention. And notice the new people that are in an invite them in if you are the newbie, it’s important that you have an open mind and look for the people who are looking at you and swallow your pride and introduce yourself if you have to because sometimes we just have to introduce ourselves the eye contact move. Yeah. That that’s a new one. Hey, if you connect with somebody by the is you should go introduce yourself to them is that how it works. Well, that’s how. Do it. And and sometimes I’m more confident in doing it than others. There’s a lot going on in that. And we’re not going to get into the psychology of talking to people. You don’t know when we talk about putting yourself out there and really being empathic. You’re putting yourself in the shoes of the person who’s been there? They’re putting themselves in your shoes as the newbie those connections, generally tend to happen organically. I also think about those times where I went to group events, and I just showed up I didn’t really know much about the group. Somebody said, I might I Hugh should go to this thing. Go check it out. Like, I probably should have looking back on it done a little more research on on the group before showing up even if it was discounted a open thing. But, you know, something if you don’t there’s also value in going and just being open to the possibilities because that’s practicing awareness.
00:10:03 – 00:15:15
You’re practicing your ability to go into. Unusual environmental see what you can learn. What is it? The clan always says, meet somebody meet learn learn something and have fun. Yeah. If you can go to every event with that mindset, you’re probably going to get something out of every single one of them. Then we come back to what are you getting out of it? If you put good things into it. And you get a lot out of that one and nothing out of the other one go to that one. Don’t go to the other one until you have nothing left to do. Everything’s open. Right. Very game. But you’ve got to do your part as the attendee while I stress with those who actually put these events on what their responsibilities are and how they can help others as the the new participant or the person who hasn’t broken through the clicks. We do have a certain responsibility. When we go in to your point finding out a little bit about the purpose of the group is the first step you really out of put some research into puts, you know, in that case where it went to the place that was super Dr I probably could easily gone to someplace like yelp. And just looked it up on there and go through some of the photos, just so I could be comfortable to know what that environments gonna look like when I get there. Sure. And the challenges that I have to work within and what turned out happening is. I was glad I took contact cards with me because I would just write notes on the back of a card of you could see enough to right? And so one of the things that I learned was. Oh, okay. Now, you need to get closer to people because it’s dark, and I need to work my way more deliberately around the room rather than seeing across the room and saying, hey, I should go meet that that person over on the other side of the room. I just worked my way through everybody. What’s interesting is if I were to go into a dark room, I would think that this is more like, ooh, I’m looking for my next date, and that’s not in keeping with a business function. So what is sounds like is you adapted in the moment to make this work for you? That’s a skill that not everybody has now if it’s a skill. You wanna work on go? Yeah. Just keep doing that. He reaching beyond your comfort zone, and there’s a quote, and I’m can’t even paraphrase. But the idea is you are going to grow only outside your comfort zone as you’re getting in there, you you want to focus on getting one on one face to face. Meeting with someone after to see where that can go if that’s your goal, and you only have to do one for that event to to meet your goal, then it makes the events, shall we say digestible, it is something you can overcome kind of like eating coal flour. Oh, I love cauliflower. I’m not sure that’s a good. Brussel sprouts. Okay. I like that. But you’re talking. Yeah. Here’s the idea though. I think the other thing that we talked about earlier is decided facilitating introductions, or at least on the prior podcast where you know, we talked about introductions. This is a great opportunity for you to gracefully make transition to the next conversation at a group of end by introducing that person to somebody else. Oh, yeah. It’s kind of like hand off. So if you’re in a conversation with someone that you really don’t think this is going anywhere positive. Hopefully, you’re still thinking about what might be in their best interest. And you see someone else that might be able to help this person. That’s a really good opportunity to transition that person to a better conversation. I’ve also had people that were kinda clingy. So they knew I was kind of a maybe a more confident positive networker. And so they wanted just hang out with me. They didn’t want to go off on their own and visit with other people that can be uncomfortable ’cause they’re hovering, you know, breathing down your neck and every converse. You know, it’s funny because I’ve. Had this both sides of that conversation with others. We we’ve talked about. Okay. So we go to a networking event. Together, we know each other, and what is the liability the disadvantage of sticking together the whole time. And of course, it it’s sort of like, you know, if you go to a bar with a friend, and you really wanna meet somebody you, but everybody who sees you sees that you’re with us other person there every time. Yeah. So it’s like, oh, well that, you know, why introduce myself, obviously, they’re together. Right. The same is true of networking event. If you’re if you’re sticking to closely to someone you’re not giving other people the opportunity to talk one on one with you. Yeah. Let go of your your insecurity. Well, I was thinking the strings Eddie, let just let go and see see where it land another thing that I love I particularly enjoy when it happens to me is. When someone introduces me to someone else, they don’t actually have to know the other person and the story I loved to tell was years ago when I was in the dating world, and I went to a bar dance club with a couple of my best friends, and I happen to see somebody across the room that I thought was attractive.
00:15:15 – 00:19:38
And so my friend said, oh, do you know that person? I said no would you like to be introduced sure? So he introduced me I asked later, so how did you know that person? Oh, I didn’t. If was one of my favorite memories. And I love doing that professionally because, you know, something if someone comes up to me and says I’d like to introduce you to this other person, I have no idea where this is coming from. But I also had no idea where it’s going bless take this where find out where it’s going, and I’m always always open open to this. I think that’s the fun part of networking. I do that. Frequently actually, I’ll introduce people that I don’t know. Right. Or if I’ve been there long enough in meta handful of people, and you know, there’s an overlap. I’ll say what you need to go talk to this person about that specific topic. Sure, they might be able to give you some information or advice on your project. Yeah. So taken by hand, and let me introduce you. There’s a level of confidence when you are making that kind of an introduction that then rubs off on the others and bowl if you are not being the one to do the introduction, then be open to that. Whether you’re someone’s introducing another person to you, or if you are being introduced, and if you’re really brave, even if you’re not really brave I still recommend it start talking to somebody and say, hey, I noticed you. I think you you might have some some interest in talking to this other person and to introduce them and see what happens. It’s fun. Right. And that makes the networking event different from all the others that you go to and everybody’s talking to everybody. They always talked to write it kind of stick to that. It changed living out for report Yari have with somebody. It’s natural. They’d wanna do that? Right. What is gained? If you’re in the same trench all the time. That’s a great point where Suming that those listen to this are in the trenches, right? See if you can get into a different trench, always go in with an idea of what can I learn from this because you are going to have some bad moments things that don’t go. Well, things that you’re not getting the responses you wanted or you’re not getting the end result that you walked in expecting a goal, right? Okay. Not everything is going to be perfect. If you go in what can I learn from that even though it didn’t go. Well, it may be that’s never been. I don’t want to go back to and. That’s okay. No that the less than great experiences aren’t necessarily your fault. They aren’t necessarily the fault of any group or individual. It just may not have been a good fit or it may not have been a good evening. All of this is possible. We all have responsibility. Ladies at group meetings. We just wanna make sure that we’re if it’s a networking event that we are helping people to network going to these group of ants can have the good points in the bad points. Really? It’s up to you to do your part now to make it the experience you want it to be, and I hope that includes having fun. Yeah. And if you get to the end of that event, and you make a decision not to go back. Then that’s okay to just find the right groups that give you the response that you’re looking for will that does it for this episode of job seekers radio. You’ll find show notes and resources at job seekers radio dot com forward slash zero four five one of those resources is the anatomy of networking conversation e book that we’ve done you can download that we want you to get onto itin and subscribe to get future episodes while you’re there. Give us a rate and review and ask us questions. Yes. Be sure that you’re sending calmer. That’s if you’re on a job search ahead. And you’re listening to us. Let us know how things are going for you. We want to hear from you. We wanna provide you support that we think is tangible and valuable if you have a request or any questions is likely we’re going to answer that or use that as a topic for our next episode. So thanks for joining us for this episode of job seekers radio. We acknowledged the time at attention that you’ve paid to us, and we’re grateful to I’m Andrew, and I’m Scott until next time don’t be your own worst enemy.