6 Ways to Sabotage Your Networking Efforts – Cher Zevala

mickyates Business, Career, ideas, Inspiration, Leader, leadership, networks 0 Comments

To find career success, you need a strong, reliable network. Several studies have found that the vast majority of new hires acquire their positions thanks to connections, which means you need to meet people and maintain relationships if you want to scale your career ladder in record time.

Unfortunately, networking doesn’t come naturally to everyone. In fact, most people make serious networking mistakes without ever realizing how they are hindering the development of their career. If you want to grow a network, you need to know how to do it right. Learning about the following common networking blunders will help you avoid sabotaging your career before it takes off.

1.    Meeting Too Few People

To develop beneficial relationships with people, you first have to meet them. Unfortunately, the modern world doesn’t always make it easy to encounter likeminded others organically. Thus, to build your network, you typically must go out of your way to find the right connections. One tactic is to apply to online MBA programs, which will put you in-touch with the precise professionals who can help you into the career of your dreams. Another is to attend endless numbers of networking events – and maximize your time meeting and greeting everyone there. The more connections you make, the more likely you are to find someone who can benefit your career.

2.    Focusing on Shop Talk

Even at networking events, you should try to avoid talking too much about work. After the customary exchange of job titles and employers, you should try to steer the conversation toward more interesting and relatable topics, like hobbies, popular movies and books, or travel. This will help you find common ground between you and your potential contacts, making you memorable and giving you ways to connect in the future. If work comes up naturally, you shouldn’t be afraid to discuss it, but you should absolutely avoid conversations concerning no-go issues, like:

  • Politics
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Downer personal issues
  • Problem habits
  • Gossip

3.    Hearing, Not Listening

You introduce yourself, and you mentally prepare your next topic of conversation – but you forget to listen to the other person’s name or profession. The social pressure of networking can be immense, and many people respond to the stress by focusing too much on their own speech and reactions at the expense of their conversational partners’. However, it’s relatively easy to tell when someone isn’t paying attention to what you say, and most people are less inclined to connect with people who are blatantly not listening. Despite whatever anxiety you may experience in networking situations, you must strive to be present, respond appropriately, and remember what you hear.

4.    Lacking Follow-Through

Meeting someone is important, but following up with them is as important to build a solid and lasting relationship. You can’t expect your contacts to reach out to you, especially if you are at a less-advantageous position and need their help to secure career leads. Before you part ways, you should secure a business card, an email address, or a LinkedIn profile – some way to connect with your potential contacts again in the future. From then on, you should send regular emails or schedule meetings every so often to keep in touch.

5.    Expecting Too Much

Everyone knows that the purpose of networking is to improve your career. However, that won’t happen right away. You can’t begin a networking relationship with demands for better jobs with better pay; instead, you need to give before you can get. You should show your contacts that you are valuable by offering useful professional services, furthering their networking efforts, or performing some other task they need. Even then, you shouldn’t expect a single contact to gift you your dream job. Likely, it will require several years, several positions, and a larger and more powerful network to make that happen.

6.    Neglecting Gratitude

If you didn’t learn it as a child, then better late than never: You must thank the people who do things for you. However, your gratitude doesn’t have to be sensational or shocking; if you lack the time and tools to send a handwritten thank-you card, a simple email will often suffice. As long as your contacts know that you acknowledge their efforts in improving your career, you will maintain positive relationships and continue to benefit from your network.

Leadership Struggles: Leading Effective Meetings – Brooke Faulkner

mickyates Business, ideas, Inspiration, Leader, leadership, Organization, Teams 0 Comments

Meetings tend to be the punchline of a lot of office-related humor. For example, the feeling that you have meetings to talk about other meetings, or that meetings are basically glorified emails. However, meetings can be a helpful, perhaps even necessary, part of company collaboration and interaction.

Leading an effective meeting can be a struggle, but it doesn’t have to be a pain point. Work on leading effective meetings by choosing the right time, creating an agenda, providing materials ahead of time, and leaving room for attendees to discuss the topic at hand.

Timing Matters

Finding a good time to have a meeting that works with everyone’s schedule and preferences is virtually impossible. However, you can still work to make your meeting time one that takes advantage of low-productivity periods or avoids derailing positive work momentum. For instance, some studies show that Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the best days to send emails and get a response. If your employees rely on email correspondence as a weighted aspect of their duties, avoid those days that may be most important to their work flow. If leaving early for the weekend is a popular choice for your company on Friday afternoons, it might be best to avoid that slot as a meeting time. Timing does matter, and leading an effective meeting can be as simple as planning your meeting at a time that works for your company’s workflow.

Create an Agenda

An agenda will ensure your meeting stays on task and remains efficient. Setting a time limit for each action item can be extremely helpful in keeping a meeting from becoming derailed as well. Whether your meeting is focused on relaying information, decision-making, or promoting collaboration, an agenda can still be a helpful tool in battling meeting problems. Some meeting pain points can be distractions or unfocused talk causing a feeling of wasted time. An agenda can combat that problem and keep your meeting feeling crisp and useful.

Provide Materials Ahead of Time

If you want your meeting attendees to be participants in your meeting or provide discussion, you should be providing them with materials ahead of time. Giving employees sufficient time to read through your discussion points before the meeting will ensure they aren’t distracted from the meeting by reading materials during it, or trying to get their opinions and thoughts in order in time to participate. If you need to make a decision based on the participation of your meeting attendees, it’s helpful to give them time to offer their thoughts. Otherwise you run the risk of disengaging their attention or discouraging their participation.

Leave Time for Questions and Discussion

Even if your meeting’s agenda is purely informational, consider leaving extra time for discussion and questions. Though some types of discussion can derail the meeting, other types of brainstorming and open-forum talks can promote helpful collaboration between employees. If your meeting promotes more discussion than you thought or there are questions, you don’t want to risk running over time. Not allowing questions or discussion feels very unwelcoming to your attendees who are taking their time to attend. Openness is an important aspect in making meetings matter.

Not all meetings are going to be amazing collaborative sessions bringing about big ideas and innovation. However, some of them will be. In order to foster a positive meeting atmosphere where meetings are effective, it’s important to carefully plan ahead of time. This includes choosing the right time, making a plan, providing materials, and encouraging discussion.

Header image: https://pixabay.com/en/people-girls-women-students-2557396/

Brooke Faulkner is a full-time writer and full-time mom of two.

She spends her days pondering what makes a good leader, and dreaming up ways to teach these virtues to her sons creativity enough that she’ll get more than groans and eye rolls in response. To read more of her work, follow her on Twitter @faulknercreek