In episode 50 of “The JoyPowered™ Workspace Podcast,” JoDee and Susan discuss why you need to network and how to do it effectively. Amy Waninger of Lead at Any Level calls in to talk about diversity and inclusion in building your network. In best practice sharing, listeners share how they make networking easier.
Many people don’t like networking; they think of it as walking into a room full of 100 people they don’t know and making small talk. However, there are lots of reasons you should network, including creating opportunities, learning, getting advice, getting a new job, making new friends, and growing in your career.
Over 70% of people have found their job through networking. Your connections may not personally be able to hire you, but they may know someone who does, and recruiters appreciate someone they know vouching for a candidate. Don’t outright ask for a job, though; ask for ideas, connections, more information about the company, and/or contacts that might be involved in the hiring process. Networking can be important for professional development, as well, with people you know often becoming clients, referring clients, etc.
JoDee and Susan discuss an Inc. Magazine article’s suggestions for networking authentically and effectively. They include sharing personal details, standing up, remembering that it’s a two-way street, being authentic, and more.
It’s important when building your network not to just seek out people who look and think like you do. Amy Waninger joins the podcast to talk about diversity in networking. Unconscious bias refers to the decisions we make without realizing that we’re making them, or the preferences we have that reinforce our identities, people we associate with, and experiences to a point that we forget we’re making decisions. We can’t really get rid of it, but we can get beyond it by putting ourselves on notice, observing the responses of others, and pressing the pause button before speaking.
Amy shares her CHAMP networking strategy, focusing on network breadth. She suggests that you have 5 components to your network: Customer/Constituent, Hire/Help get a job, Associate, Mentor, and Protegee. When you think of who’s top of mind in those categories, do they look just like you? Diverse networks help you learn more, be more innovative, perform better, consider as many perspectives as possible, and solve problems that impact others.
If your network isn’t diverse, don’t feel shame for the past, but make a commitment to get better. To get started diversifying your network, you can start with low-risk activities: consider where you get your news, what books you read and who writes them, and who you follow on social media. Then show up in places you can listen and learn; go to the converence that’s not for you, or the session that’s not for you (for example, if you’re a man, attend a session on women in financial services).
In this episode’s best practice sharing segment, listeners share what they do to make networking easier. In listener mail, a listener asks how to make poor leaders realize they’re poor leaders and help them get better. During in the news, JoDee and Susan discuss assessing external changes that could impact HR policies, procedures, or practices.