In talking to people and working with my clients, I’ve identified four basic levels of Networking Awareness. Can you identify where you are based on the descriptions below?
- You don’t know what you don’t know. You’re unaware that you could (and should) be making, maintaining, and building connections and friendships, both at work and in your personal life. You don’t know about (or refuse to believe in) the many benefits being well-connected can bring you personally and professionally. You think you’re doing fine as is, getting your job done and doing your own thing. In this place, the relationships you do have are likely ones you’ve had for years. Or maybe they’re ones you’ve made by default or proximity. If you’re in this place, you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog unless someone forwarded it to you and encouraged you to read it. However, if you’re reading and you’re honest enough to admit to being in this place, congratulations! You’ve just graduated to the next level!
- You know you need to be connecting with others, but you don’t know how. Take heart! This is the liberating gateway that could change everything for the better. Despite any fears, know that you CAN do this! You just need some skill- and confidence-building. My success guide, The Intentional Networker, is a magnificent and practical place to start.
- You know you need to be connecting with others AND you know how. But you still don’t do it. You’re busy with work. Busy with personal responsibilities. You forget. Getting and staying connected gets bumped to the bottom of the list. Time slips by. If you want to move out of this level, it’s time to wake up and commit to moving networking closer to the top of the list. Five minutes a day to send an email, make a call, invite someone to coffee or lunch, wish someone a happy birthday, ask someone how their day is going. It’s not hard. And you can make the time. But why? Studies reveal that having a high quality support network, whether personally or professionally, not only boosts your career, it’s also vital to your mental, emotional, and physical health and well-being, (The older I get, the more this proves itself to be true!)
- You know and you do. Such a great place to be! You’re a confident, conscientious networker. You know how to make friends, stay connected, help others, and ask for help when you need it. Mostly, it just feels good to have good people in your world. It’s energizing, it’s enjoyable, and it’s something you have to work at. But you know it pays off.
Where do you see yourself right now? What do you need to do to move up (or stay there)? Would love to hear if and how this resonates with you.
Meanwhile, if I can be of service to you or your organization via coaching, consulting, a presentation or even a workshop that positively and powerfully shifts how you view and exercise the art of connecting, please let me know. And be sure to share this blog or others in my archives with someone who could benefit from becoming a more Intentional Networker. You know, the Level 1’s, 2’s, and 3’s in your life.