Pivoting off of my Summit21 blog post, I wanted to talk about your network and what you can do.. if it’s feeling a bit flat for you.
In that post, I discussed that building connection holds a ton of value for me and if you know me in real life – I am constantly encouraging (low key being annoying) about getting out, meeting people, having REAL conversations #NoSmallTalk and knowing how to give.. all of which I’m sure I’ll delve into in another blog post.
As incredibly social of a career blogging can be, it’s 99.9% surface level (don’t debate me). Seriously though, don’t believe the hype. You’re constantly meeting people yes, which is great as you can expand your immediate circle on a regular basis if you’re committed to attending events.
However, I personally only want to have so many “How’s it going?” “What are you working on?” “Loved that recent post!” “OMG, I know.” etc. etc.
Now I can play the game but sometimes, frankly I’m tired – if we’re gonna do this, let’s just be genuine right?
So with that said, lets increase your network (the right way)….
I am super passionate about minimizing small talk indefinitely. Seriously, guys it’s kinda crazy. Like put it in my Tinder bio, serious #kiddingnotkidding. I think people default to small talk because it’s easy and when you’re super uncomfortable, there’s nothing like bonding over the incessant need for coffee first thing in the morning or how crappy/amazing the weather is today? *insert a heavy eye roll*
..I made this point number one, because if you’re truly trying to connect – it’s not going to be over how bad traffic was this morning.
Try using feeler/intro questions like…
“How are you feeling today?”
“What was the best thing about your day today?”
“What was the worst thing about your day today?”
2/ ..But can you GIVE though?
I had a great chat today with a friend about empty cups. It’s important that in any relationship, you know how to give. Seriously guys, this is why the whole ‘pick your brain’ thing has completely gone to shit.
3/ Online to Offline
Sure, you may not be able to physically meet everyone but those that you can (and by can, I mean you both live in a reasonable radius) you must. Connecting OFFLINE aka IRL is muy importante. No ifs ands or buts about it – doesn’t matter how much you connect via txt/gifs/DMs/tweets, if you’re looking to connect and be of real value to one another, you’ve gotta vibe it out in person.
Schedule a quick lunch (dinner can be too intense for some but may be ideal for others – gotta see), grab a drink (happy hour always works) or maybe you go to a SoulCycle class and bitch about it afterwards lol while drinking a keto-friendly smoothie? Either way, connecting in real life further enhances the foundation you’ve created digitally – plus, we all could be on our phones less anyway…
4/ Be a Hostess
Can’t meet the right people? Throw your own event! Invite others and make them bring someone NEW to the group. This could be lavish or not – it could be a new season of a favourite show, so let’s all hangout and talk shit about it. You could start a book club, lipstick club, wine club (or scotch – no judgements) and just find one common thread to gather people together to connect and expand from there.
You can start with a small group – as small as 5 or 7? Grow from there or not. Keep it cute and intimate, and maybe if you guys really hit it off, you keep it going.
5/ The Power is in the Follow-up.
Frankly, this is both professional + personal advice! Did you swap a couple of solid emails? Had a great coffee date? Shared some laughs over a drink? ..and then …. radio silence? Everything flatlined? Yeah, initiative has to be taken. There’s really no way around it.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a quality connect/relationship. Touch base, show genuine interest in what they’re doing and try and nail down another date just to connect, even a quick 15 min coffee in the middle of a work day can totally work.