Develop the Most Important Networking Skills With a People-First Approach

By Executive coaching News
Networking advice from professionals

Networking is all about helping one another, according to Barb Munro, Co-founder, and Partner of The Carrera Agency — this is the precise definition she shares with friends and colleagues. Networking skills and value creation go hand in hand. In the context of clients with a real talent management need, and technology consultants, Carrera is in the networking business.

Our talent management team uses this approach to pair the right people with the right technology and design roles. Help clients find the best talent and help consultants land the best projects — this is why we roll up our sleeves every day. It’s also why we provide a personal touch when we interact with the Carrera network. Good karma? You bet.

What are Networking Skills?

Networking doesn’t come naturally for everybody. But if you don’t believe in networking, you are thinking about your network all wrong. Networking is just connecting with other people. Not only people you know or feel comfortable with but newcomers too. The act of networking focuses on many topics; career development is the most common; it’s what we hope to gain from our efforts.

The truth is, the use of networking skills only works when you are willing to help others achieve their goals without expecting something in exchange for your generosity. However, our experiences show that authenticity and genuine interaction lead to successful outcomes for all. One person may receive an endorsement, a job, a connection, or interview; the other feels good for providing the deed and strengthens their reputation.

American Writer Anthony J. D’Angelo once said, “Build your reputation by helping others build theirs.” If you adopt this mindset, you, too, will improve your networking skills over time.

Of course, this form of networking is also strategic; therefore, it should be approached with strategy.  We advise you to reach beyond your current network and meet people from other industries and diverse backgrounds, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t share similarities. It’s good practice to find common ground before engaging in dialogue.

For example, if you want to grow into a new role, locate people who already do that job. Similarly, if you want to connect with a buyer or essential decision-maker, identify relatable talking points based on past jobs or professional associations. Look for ice-breaker material to lead the conversation.

As the word strategy suggests, it’s okay to offer your services with the belief that you will be the recipient of similar assistance in the future. We call it good karma — the pay-it-forward approach to human interaction. A strong network includes mutually beneficial relationships, and networking is about humans connecting with other humans. Even if you can’t walk away from an event, meeting, or conversation with measurable gain, you can at least strengthen your reputation and show good character.

Expert Advice on Networking Skills

Today, technology allows industries and companies to create change at a rapid pace, which results in greater competition in the workforce. So how do you keep pace? You make more meaningful connections and build stronger relationships, i.e., make friends.

Networking skills in the modern era are crucial to your success, both personally and professionally — so, please, don’t fear the word. Instead, be proactive, meet new people, offer help, and strategically build your network.

The following video resources offer advice and helpful tips to increase the effectiveness of your networking skills. Let’s review:

1.Career Networking Advice: 3 Steps To Getting A Meeting With Literally Anyone

Theme: Help them help you.

In this short video, Alex Banayan, author of “The Third Door,” explains the three crucial steps that you must take if you want to receive a meeting with a decision-maker; this could be a hiring manager, CEO, customer, or even a spokesperson. Alex is quick to the point and shares the networking skills that landed him meetings with the hardest to reach people, including Bill Gates. Fortunately, the chances are good that the person you want to contact isn’t quite this difficult to achieve. So, be strategic and give these tactics a try; elevate your networking skills.

2. An Introvert’s Guide To Networking

Theme: Community is built by connecting the dots that only you can see.

In this video, Rick Turoczy, a self-proclaimed introvert, explains why introverts are very good at building communities and networking with others. Rick illustrates how the concept of ‘common sense’ is dependant on one’s perspective and relates this idea to networking. That is, it’s only common sense — to you — that person A could benefit from a meeting with person B; others don’t share this vision. Furthermore, the more people you meet and invite into your network, the more dots you have to connect. The more connections you make, the larger the community becomes. So, it’s less about being an introvert and more about saying yes.

3.The Secret To Great Opportunities? The Person You Haven’t Met

Theme: Seek out social hubs and embrace randomness — plan for it.

In this video, MBA professor Tanya Menon explains how we overlook the importance of weak ties and place value on our close contacts; however, this doesn’t expose us to new people and new ideas. She encourages everyone to fight their filters. Don’t find yourself stuck in narrow social circles with similar people. To develop more effective networking skills, think about the habits confine you, and how you can break them. Tanya considers how you can be more intentional about expanding your social universes — and how it can lead to new ideas and opportunities.

4. How To Find Work You Love

Theme: If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you will never find it.

In this video, Scott Dinsmore explains the correct starting point for effective networking — it’s you. He claims to have an 80% quit rate. That is, eight out of ten people who ask him for career advice quit their current job. So, during his presentation on meaningful work, Scott provides a compass for people to find their way and create a purposeful career. Before you can sell your services to a company, you must determine the composition of your soul. Most importantly, once you compose the inner workings of your compass, you can define what success looks like for you. Only then can you go into the world and uncover the best opportunities using your networking skills.

5. 10 Ways To Have A Better Conversation

Theme: Who, what, when, where, why and how.

In this video, professional interviewer Celeste Headlee explains how to have a productive conversation during a period where we are more divided than ever before as a society. Instead of listening to each other, we make decisions based on what we already believe. Of course, this single-sided perspective makes it impossible to have a balanced conversation. The words of Bill Nye, “Everyone that you will ever meet knows something that you don’t.” In other words, ‘everybody is an expert at something.’ So, to have more productive conversations and be more effective at networking, use the following ten tips from Celeste. You will be surprised by the enjoyment you receive from your interpersonal communication experiences.

As Mike Davidson said while building a 100-person research and design team at Twitter,

“It’s all about people. It’s about networking and being nice to people and not burning any bridges. Your book is going to impress, but in the end, it is people that are going to hire you.”

Interconnectedness. Support. Opportunity. Exposure. Everyone wants them, but few know where they are found. And even fewer realize that these factors are a natural extension of a responsive network.

The five short videos listed above offer sound advice and actionable tips to build networking skills. All you have to do is put them to use. And there’s no better place to begin than on LinkedIn. We welcome you to the Carrera Network, a place where we thoughtfully connect clients with top technology and design talent every day.