August 17, 2018
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Summer changes our work and social routines as we navigate around children out of school and family vacations. The warm daylight evenings compete heavily against business networking events. All is not lost, however. Remember that networking happens everywhere, not just at organized events. Some of my best connections have been made by saying hello to the person sitting next to me on an airplane.

Here are some networking activity ideas for summer:

  • Invite colleagues to bring their family and join you at a free concert in the park.
  • Send an email asking how their summer is going and if they have any special vacations planned.
  • Do something fun that you can share on Facebook and comment on summer activities your network has posted (hopefully you’re connected!)
  • Do a charity walk, bike ride or even a pancake breakfast. Charity events are great places to make new connections.
  • Instead of a business lunch, take a business walk.

What is your summertime networking strategy? Please share it with us!

One of the challenges with growing a large network is remembering who everyone is and how you know them. I’ve written about nurturing your network and checking in with people periodically so that they remain a valuable connection. I admit this is a challenge when your network grows to over 600 contacts in LinkedIn like mine.

I learned a new tip recently from leadership coach Kristi Royse (KLR Consulting http://www.klrconsulting.com/) that I want to share in hopes that it will help you as much as it has me. When I shared with Kristi that I can’t always remember who people are that I’m linked to or how I met them, she suggested that I use the “notes” field in LinkedIn when I add a new contact. I admitted that I didn’t even know there was a notes field and checked it out as soon as I got back to my desk. Sure enough, each contact record has one.

I’ve started to use this field when I add new contacts to remind myself where I met them (a conference, client, or introduction through a friend). What a great addition this has been for my network that is outside of my business CRM tool.

Hopefully whatever tool you use to manage your connections has a similar notes field that will help you capture this useful information.

I attended a webinar last week that George Kao gave on the efficiently using Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter for marketing and business networking. George had a great tip that I want to pass along.

If you’re signed up for a networking event or conference, check to see if they have a page on Facebook or their conference site for the event. If so, sign up to say you’re attending. Look to see who else is attending and reach out if it is someone you would like to connect with. Consider introducing yourself and let them know why you like to connect.

For more information about George Kao and his webinar, visit: http://social.georgekao.com

I attended a lovely celebration recently at a winery where name tags were provided by the hostess. As I was about to pin my name tag to my left lapel, Molly Wendell, of Executives Network, offered me a wonderful tip I thought I would share. Molly suggested placing the name tag on my right lapel, so it would be in the line of sight when I extend my hand to introduce myself. Now that’s a tip I’ll pass along.

For more of Molly’s tips on job search and networking, visit her blog at http://executivesnetwork.wordpress.com/

This morning, Mira and I had coffee at Starbuck’s near Microsoft’s Mountain View Campus. Mira gave me a really great tip about ordering Splenda in my grande non-fat latte. YUMM. We spoke about how we were talking to lots of people who were looking for work. Mira told me about her new blog about networking. I said – “Here’s a great networking activity* for job seekers”…..I told her my tip and she said I’d better write it down for her blog before she did – here goes…..

Whether or not you are looking for what’s next in your career, take some time to meet with your former colleagues, bosses, and folks who have worked for you and ask these questions:“

“What are the top 5 reasons someone should hire me?””
“What is the one thing you’d suggest I change or learn for my career development?”

Here’s the deal – meet with these people in person or call them by phone to ask the question – no fair doing this networking activity by email. This is about relationship building. It’s an opportunity to network and find out how you can help them. It is also an opportunity to ask them who they know you could be talking to if, just in case, you are looking for what’s next in your career. Write down their answers. Someday, during an interview, you may be asked when asked questions similar to:

“Why should we consider hiring you?”
“What are your key strengths?”
“Why do you think you are the best person for this job?”

You can powerfully respond with, “My boss would say this about me …” Technical skills aside –people hire people who can communicate, add value, and who other people like.

These quotable quotes are also wonderful in a cover letter. I like having them for rainy days when I’m feeling like the world is just a little too dreary. They cheer me up. One of my favorites is what Bill Drake told me years ago: “One of your strengths is you don’t take no for an answer but look for what needs to be changed to get to a yes.”

By the way, the people you asked this question should very likely be your references. Oh – and the one thing they recommended you change or learn – take it on!

*Donna Fedor, a long term friend and industry cohort told me about this inspiring activity years ago. Pay it forward and tell someone else.

Gretchen Sand is one of the cofounders of Skyline Recruiting in Los Altos, CA.

I went to a WITI (Women In Technology International) mixer tonight and made some great connections. I asked several of the women who attended what networking site they used. Pretty much all of them said they used LinkedIn to maintain their professional network and they used Facebook for their personal network. All voiced a concern about mixing their personal and professional posts.

I am connected to people from all walks of my life on Facebook (friends, family, coworkers, clients, music fans, and people from my church congregation), but then that is my style. I am also mindful that posts I put on Facebook, Twitter and other social web sites are up for public display.

Please share your thoughts on this topic.

I’ve had a few questions fielded to me about the name of my blog, and even a few squeamish reactions to the title. Clearly, this is not a blog about fibrous tissue, but I love the analogy. When people would say, “Gee, Mira, you’re such a networker,” I found myself saying, “Yah, I’m the connective tissue in the universe.”

As the name implies, connective tissue serves a “connecting” function in the body. It supports and binds other tissues. There are all types of connective tissues that serve various parts of the body, from organs to joints.

We have people in our lives that we’re connected to who serve to support the different parts of our lives. Family, friends, business, and community all come together to support how we move in the world. We can’t survive without connective tissue and we can’t survive without a network of help.