The art of building and sustaining mutually beneficial relationships
NAAAP Women in Leadership
Facilitator: David Lum
March 13, 2010
• What is Networking?
• Why is networking important? Very important:
If you learn
• The “Who’s” of Networking
• Who is (should be) in my Network? wish to try,
• Networking Self-Assessment make a note
• Networking hurdles of it.
• Working the Room and Conversation
• How to make an impact
• Maintaining the relationships
Definitions & Comparisons
• Definition of Networking
• Creating a group of acquaintances and associates and
keeping it active through regular communication for
mutual benefit. Networking is based on the question
"How can I help?" and not with "What can I get?"
• Definition of Coaching
• Extending traditional training methods to include focus
on (1) an individual's needs and accomplishments, (2)
close observation, and (3) impartial and non-judgmental
feedback on performance. Coaching focuses on a
specific behavior or developmental need.
Definitions & Comparisons
• Definition of Mentoring
• Employee training system under which a more
experienced individual (the mentor) is assigned to act as
an advisor, counselor, or guide to a junior or trainee (the
mentee). The mentor is responsible for providing support
to, and feedback on, the individual in his or her charge.
Mentoring is focused professional development through
deeper one-on-one relationships.
• Definition of a Sponsor
• An influential leader who is committed to the
development of a person, and takes personal
responsibility for advocacy, protection, and promotion.
Sponsorship has a political element to it.
Networking - A Process and a Discipline,
Not An Event
Networking is Networking isn’t
• A benefit to both persons to be • A process of making cold-calls to
most effective people you don't know
• Always a two-way street • Just contacting everyone you
know when you need something
• Asking your network for help
when you need; be prepared to
return the favor when asked
• Building on a process…an
ongoing lifelong way of doing
Before During After
Preparation Impression Follow-Up
Understanding About Networking
• Why is networking important?
• What can be accomplished by networking?
• Who is in my Network and who should be in my
• Where can I network?
• How can I make an impact?
Why is Networking Important?
• Professional Presence & Exposure
• Your Career Needs, Job Search
• Professional Support
• Brainstorming ideas
• Information and resource sharing, seeking, giving
• Tough situations
• Finding and Discovering Mentors
• Development and Maintenance of Social Skills
What Can Be Accomplished?
• Establish Professional Connections
• Career Advancement
• Gain Industry Knowledge
• Identify Business Opportunities
• Access to Information & Ideas
• Find Top Talent
• Learn from Other’s Expertise
Critical “Who’s” of Networking
Who is in my Active Network?
• People with whom I…
• Have regular interactions in work & life
• Reach out & interact with 2-4 times per year
• Receive & send emails, calls, IM chat
Who is (and should be) in my Network?
Current Work Colleagues
The Case for a Limited Network
• You don’t have time to nurture every
relationship – don’t spread yourself too thinly
• The database will be too big to manage and will
create more work than value to you
• Not every relationship will benefit you
• Pick and choose your associates &
acquaintances – there’s nothing wrong with this!
• Value-based two-way relationships are most meaningful
• Quality of the relationship matters, not quantity
Getting Started (Thinking) Exercise:
1. Write down 3 colleagues with whom you would like to
refresh/start your professional relationship
2. Write down something you can discuss with them
(i.e., shared hobby, sports team, vacation, mutual
3. Write down the best way to contact them (email is not
always the answer)
4. Schedule a reminder with yourself to contact them on
your calendar now
5. Set a follow up meeting date 3 or 6 months out
Follow up, follow up, follow up…
Where can I Network?
• Online Social Networking Sites
• Conferences/Industry Events
• Social Gatherings
• Affinity Group Events
• Work Events
• Training Events
• Charity Events (e.g., NAAAP Red Orchid Gala)
• Use the right side of this 1.
page to write your
• Answer the next 6 3.
questions as you think 4.
you would behave in that
situation, not what you 5.
think is the right or best 6.
• Being honest with
yourself will help you to
1. At a company-sponsored seminar, you see your manager
standing alone. You:
a. stand with your colleagues and keep talking. You can’t work all the time.
b. just wave hello; after all, the manager may prefer to be alone.
c. walk over to your manager and begin a conversation.
2. Your customer invites you to attend a community event he’s
a. plan to attend and leave early, since you won’t be noticed in the crowd.
b. ask if it’s appropriate to bring a colleague to keep you company.
c. decline politely, saying you’re previously engaged.
3. You are in a conversation at a networking event with someone
who you don’t find particularly interesting or stimulating. You:
a. say “Excuse me, it was nice meeting you” & move on.
b. say “I have to go” and walk away.
c. continue talking until the other person excuses himself from your
conversation – you don’t want to be rude.
from Susan Roane’s book “How to Work a Room”
4. As a very busy person with lots of time constraints, you:
a. always read a local and national newspaper.
b. often read a daily paper.
c. never take time to read the paper. That’s why they invented television.
5. You see a person at a networking event who you have met
before but can’t remember their name, you:
a. ask, “Do you remember me?”
b. say “Hello” and state your name.
c. either (a) or (b) is acceptable.
6. You think a good conversationalist:
a. asks questions to get the other person to do the talking.
b. chimes in with stories, thoughts, observations.
c. does both (a) and (b).
Score yourself: 5 points for every correct answer
1. C, Walk over to your manager & begin a conversation
2. B, Ask if its appropriate to bring a colleague
3. A, Say, “Excuse me, nice to meet you” & move on
4. A, Always read a local & national newspaper
5. B, Say “Hello” & state your name
6. C, Ask questions & chimes in with thoughts
25-30 points: You know how to make the most of a situation
20 points: You seize most opportunities, but can be better
< 15 points: Opportunities are passing you by
Common Networking Hurdles
• Don’t want to talk with strangers
• Waiting to be properly introduced
• Being pushy, aggressive in conversation
• Controlling or dominating the discussion
• One-sided (all talk, no listening)
• Mr./Ms. Know-it-all / Highly-opinionated / Right
• Mangled and mixed messages
• Not paying attention, not listening
• Body language
• Eye contact (lack of, too much), physical contact
• Arms, stance, space
Networking Hurdles – I’m introverted
• Networking is a long term • Invite people to lunch
investment in your career
• Go regularly to events
• Don’t network just for the you like
sake of networking
• Analyze your results
• Over-attend events until
you find a match for • Volunteer (NAAAP, etc)
yourself • Be the Early Bird
• Find the key nodes in the • Don’t worry, be comfy
• Seek out fellow introverts
• Talk about yourself
without bragging • Set goals
• Join Toastmasters • Follow up
Networking Hurdles – I’m too shy
1. Start small
2. Stop apologizing
3. Tap into your primal instincts
4. The Wisdom of Dale Carnegie
Smile - Ask a question - Listen - Business cards - Say the person’s name
5. Be yourself and relax
6. Tap into your passions
7. Ask for introductions
8. Be generous
9. Be prepared
10. Follow up
11. Get over your fear of rejection
12. Take risks
13. Seek professional help
www.cio.com “How to Network: 12 Tips for Shy People”
Networking Hurdles – Gender Differences
• Uses fewer words and has a limit; • Tends to use more verbal &
will interrupt written words; won’t interrupt
• Tends to criticize others in order • Tends to criticize self in order to
to connect connect
• Chooses words that describe the • Chooses words that describe the
goal of success process to success
• Tends to talk about their own • Tends to listen about other’s
• Tends to talk about outcomes of • Tends to talk about family,
social groups (sports), trivia, and relationships, memories, and
• Squints/frowns when listening • Smiles more when listening
• Uses more physical space • Uses less physical space
• Notices fewer non-verbal cues • Believes non-verbal cues more
“Leadership and the Sexes” by Michael Gurian and Barbara Annis
Networking Preparation Tips
• Adopt a positive attitude
• Focus on the benefit of the event
• Plan your self-introduction
• Check your business cards – bring plenty!
• Prepare your small talk
• Remember to make eye contact and smile
• Practice your handshake: firm, but not hard
Working the Room
• Enter the room with confidence
• If necessary, use the buddy system
• Seek out others
• Make the most of name tags: BIG LETTERS
• Use great opening lines
• Join conversations that are in progress
• Know how to exit from conversations
Conversations – Join
• Use OAR: Observe . . . Ask . . . Reveal
• Look for smaller groups of about 2-3 people
• Look for an “approachable” person in the group
• When entering into a conversation with a group:
• Show interest in the speaker, but stand slightly away from the group
• Ease into the group by demonstrating that you’ve been listening
• Initially, it is best to find a point of agreement, or at a minimum acknowledge
• Remember the other person’s name and use it: “Nice to meet you,
• If you missed it or forgot it, confess, ask the person to repeat his/her name
“Excuse me, I’m not sure I got your name…”
• Don’t use nicknames unless that is how the individual introduced
• Make it a point to give your name when you meet someone
Conversations - Engage
• Active Listening Skills are critical to successful
• People speak 150-200 words per/min but have the capacity to listen
at 300 words/min.
• Challenge is that people tend to fill that extra capacity
with distractions such as:
• Eavesdropping on other conversations
• Drifting in private thoughts
• Thinking of questions to ask
• Focus on being present in the moment
• Verbalize your listening by asking follow-up questions
• Become a “whole body” listener, e.g. facial expressions, head nods
• BEWARE: Too much listening and not enough
verbalizing may halt a conversation…just as
monopolizing a conversation may do…you need to
strike the right balance.
Conversations – Keep it going
• Ask open-ended questions
• Reluctant speakers may respond more easily to questions about
career, leisure interests, or family
• Avoid long pauses by planning and preparation
• Tailor your preparation to the occasion and to the audience
with whom you will be speaking
• What got you involved in this organization/event?
• What has been your most important work experience?
• Avoid controversial topics (e.g. stories of questionable taste,
gossip, politics, religion, etc.)
• Get personal by being personal, but not too personal
• Use compliments, but be sincere with them
Conversations – Exiting gracefully
• End the conversation with a show of appreciation:
• “I really enjoyed talking with you about XYZ.”
• “I appreciate your willingness to share your insights about XYZ with
• Clearly state the reason you are exiting the conversation
and have a clear destination in mind (make sure you don’t
• “I need to go see the exhibits / refresh my drink / to the powder
• Allow a “changing of the guard” when a new person joins a
conversation with a couple of others in the group
• Take your conversation partner along with you to another
• “I’d like to introduce you to an associate of mine. Let’s see if she’s
• “Let’s circulate. I promised myself I’d meet several new people.”
Conversations – Ensuring lasting
• Don’t hesitate to ask for business or referrals as you
exit a conversation
• “Do you know of a good contact for XYZ?”
• “Can you suggest anyone with whom I could speak about XYZ?”
• Exchange Business Cards
• Exchanging business cards follows a conversation…not preceding
• Best when there is a stated reason (e.g., to schedule a meeting or to
provide some requested information)
• Always look at the card before putting it away
• After the Event
• Follow up on action items
• Call someone you met
• Send a “Thank You” note if appropriate
How do you make an IMPACT at a
live networking event?
• Plan ahead! Know what you • Initiate discussions with open
want out of the event and who ended questions. Good things
you want to meet. do not come to those who
• Prepare a short self-
introduction showing • Work the room. One and two
ties to the event. layers above you are more
important than the top leader.
• Find common interests
• Exchange contact info. Jot
• Know the internal and external notes on business cards.
• Be memorable, remember
• Be positive and energized or something
the game is over.
• Give a little, get a little
• Think about 1-2 things you want to try
• Count off by X
• Group by your team number
• You’ll have as much time as you’d like to
introduce yourself to the people in your group
• Learn at least 1 common interest and 1 interesting fact
about each person, and their profession/work/job
• Practice firm handshake
• Once done, move onto another group
• Continue until time is up
Ready, Set…Network! De-brief
• Did you try your new technique? How did it
• What do you remember about the people you
met? Do you remember the discussion?
• Anyone volunteer to share or help someone
after this day? Anyone directly benefit from the
• Make new friends? Make new professional
acquaintances that may be useful to you?
Maintaining the Relationships
• Follow up, follow up, follow up!
• Use multiple communication channels
• Build and maintain your database
• Allocate time (4 hours/month), 2-4 times/year
• Use your network for advice and coaching
• Be prepared to give and take help
• If you find something beneficial for someone,
freely give it to her/him
• Networking is a critical skill for your career that
you will use often.
• Networking isn’t easy if you’re not comfortable
with it, but it does get easier with practice – it is
a learned skill.
• Networking can be fun!
• Networking is a valuable asset and tool that
benefits you when you give & receive.
• Many thanks to Parita Patel for this material
from GE, used as a starting basis for this
• Much appreciation to Richelle Mon for asking
me to present this material to you.
• My sincere thanks to Parita Patel and Rose
Olea for leading the efforts in NAAAP-Chicago
in developing women for leadership roles.
• Thank you to all of the NAAAP volunteers who
brought this event and this workshop to you!