As an older worker fighting discrimination, understanding Networking 101 is vital…
1. You have to present to people a reason for them to want you in their network. Unless you can find a way to help them, one that makes sense and is valuable to them, they won’t want or need you in their network. It is about giving before receiving, like so many religions preach. This approach is the foundation stone of all productive networking – and it’s a shame that most people ignore it.
2.People have to know you, and what you’re good at – the 2nd foundation stone of powerful networking (it’s just networking 101!). It’s not just attending a conference or network group and meeting and chatting with people. It’s about making sure others know what you’re good at. You need your industry colleagues and prospects to know…
What direction are you headed in? Where would you like to work? What job would you really like to have in a few years’ time?
Of course, you must find out about their needs at the same time, or even before.
3. Focus. Work out what types/groups of people are most valuable to network with. We have already discussed competitors. Think about who else sells to or directly / indirectly influences the people you want to influence. Consider the places they congregate and how you can help them.
If your new networking colleagues know about you and what you’re good at, the next time their boss says: “I’m thinking of hiring someone to do…”, they’ll reply: “What about Bob? He’s been working on something similar and he might consider a move”. So, you’ve taken the first and perhaps most important step.