Building Your Professional Network

How to Build Powerful Relationships in Our Hyper-Connected World

Author J. Kelly Hoey says diversification is the key to building your dream network

“Stop looking at networking as this power imbalance where you’re seeking something from somebody who appears to have more power than you because they’re older and have gray hair.”

“Replace that perspective with one of, “You know what, my opportunity could come from anywhere, so why don’t I just be a decent human to everybody who’s around me?”

“What job do you want to change to? What industry do you want to go to? What role are you going after?”

She recommends that you, “Literally put down all the questions that you have, and then I want you to think about who is a person that you could tie to each question because what you’re really seeking is answers. If you start to seek answers, you may start to realize you already know people or you might know someone who may know someone and that’s a healthier and more productive way to start your networking.”

“She really thought about it, ‘alright, if I was a chief marketing officer in the legal industry, what are the types of associations would I belong to? Where are those organizations? What do those organizations do? Is there a way I can get involved and check them out?’”

So, Johnson started looking into people’s profiles and, according to Hoey, she did some, “Detective sleuthing around, and she found an organization, lo and behold, that she was like, ‘Great this sounds like where my tribe is, a place I can go and meet the types of people who I can sell my services to.’”

‘Oh my God, why am I here? Why did my friend think this was a good idea? This is a nightmare.’”

Avoid that scenario by asking questions first.

“If you say, ‘Yeah there’s a possibility here,’ keep showing up.”

“One of the greatest opportunities that transformed my career came from being actively involved in a business organization,” she recalls. “I could have just created a profile and I could have just showed up at this little breakfast and handed out my business card and nodded politely and said, ‘Oh this is nice, I get entertained once a month and I get their newsletter and isn’t that interesting.’ Instead, Hoey relates, “I looked around and said, ‘Wow, there are some other ways I can be involved,’ and I did that and nine months later, after being a member, the founder of this global business network called me and said, ‘Who are you and what do? I’d like to find out more, you’ve been asking good questions, you’ve been contributing in ways that I don’t notice other people contributing,’ and at the end of an hour-long phone call, she offered me a job that had previously never existed.”

‘Worry about how you’re going to listen because that may reveal how to connect and engage.’”

Explore common ground.

Genuine curiosity, according to Hoey, “Can solve a lot of networking ills!”

Mind your manners and the platform.

Obsessed with who connects with audiences…who doesn’t — and why! Loves to talk & to listen, to teach & to learn. Speaker, trainer, podcaster, writer, author.

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