I recently had the opportunity to be interviewed by Rebecca Sausner, editor of The Inner Circle, of USBanker and chock full of valuable information on the banking and financial industry. We had a great interview and Rebecca is an excellent editor and asks very insightful questions and comments.
The title of Rebecca's post on our interview is: "Life is One Big Networking Event".
Take a look:
New Year's resolutions that involve career advancement usually require a stepped-up networking effort. Consultant and author Andrea Nierenberg takes the art of networking to a new level, and has brought her message to executives at Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, HSBC and Deutsche Bank, among other financial services clients. Nierenberg’s most recent book, “Savvy Networking, 118 Fast and Effective Tips for Business Success,” boils down her message into bite-sized pieces.
Nierenberg summarized things further in a recent interview with The Inner Circle.
Rebecca Sausner: A lot of your work talks about the power of networking. But it seems like young people in particular don’t appreciate this. What advice would you give to a 25-year-old woman just starting her banking career?
Andrea Nierenberg: I say the word networking is a very misunderstood word because people hear the word and says, `Oh my gosh, that’s something I have to go ‘do’, I’m not good at it.’
Really, when you think about this, it’s just a mindset of meeting and connecting and starting to cultivate relationships. And even today a lot of people, every generation does it their own way, yet we are all very similar in the fact that we come back to the same goals. It doesn’t always have to be an organized event, if you just think about who your contacts are, who your connections are, who the people you want to meet and how do you want to develop a relationship with them. You kind of do a little pre-thinking and pre- planning and be inquisitive.
RS: So why is it so hard for some people?
AN: Some people are just are blocked. They say, `I don’t want to go to an event. I don’t want to walk into a room and be standing there with all these strangers; I don’t know what to say.’
And I say, `Well, you know what, if you think about strategic and structured networking, which is at an event—whether it’s your alumni, could be at a bank, an industry meeting, or a professional association or whatever—you’ve got a lot of advantages in the fact that you can do some pre-planning. Go to the Website, look up some people who might be there so if you do get to meet them you have a couple `get to know you' questions. You could be prepared with your own introduction. There’s things you can do in advance to prep you so that when you go there, take the initiative to walk up to people and introduce yourself.’
You can also start to think about the fact that life is one big networking opportunity. Everywhere you go, be inquisitive, be open, be on. Make sure when you go places you ask people questions, just have an inquisitive mind.
RS: You have your own networking method. Can you give us an overview of that?
The method is that I put down a goal every single day. I have what I call the `power of three'…What I do faithfully every single day is reach out to three different people in three different sources. I will send an article, a thank you note, say just touching base hope you had a nice holiday season. I’ll have done some homework about all these people so I know there’s a reason to reach out. People say to me isn’t that a lot of work? I say it may sound like a lot of work, but that’s individual touching of people, touching base, that’s all it is.
The other thing to keep in mind is people come in and out of your life all the time. I don’t technically stay in touch with all 3,000 people in my database; I’m just talking about the people I have a relationship with at that point.
RS: What do you think is the biggest mistake people make in networking?
AN: Very simple, they want to get without giving. People want a job, they want business, they want…I think when people try to hard to “get something” that’s where they fall down.
RS: What is one thing I can do today, or tomorrow, to strengthen my network?
AN: Put down one industry event you’d like to get involved with, and contact them, and then go with a goal in mind that you’re going to meet at least two to three new people, learn something about them and find a way to follow up. That’s one thing. The other thing you could do is nurture your current network, invite somebody out for a drink or a lunch or a breakfast or just touch base, send them an article. It’s just taking action to do something. It’s common sense; it’s just not always common practice.
Networking isn’t always about who you know, it’s about who knows you and will return your phone calls and emails.