“Position yourself as a center of influence – the one who knows the movers and shakers.
People will respond to that, and you’ll soon become what you project.”
I work in Recruitment. One of the best ways one Recruiter can set themselves apart from the rest, is by boasting an extensive network of talented individuals, knowing everyone whos anyone, sourcing the best guy for a job.
Networks are an important part of my life. I‘m a people person, I love working with people.
Generally, I put other‘s needs ahead of my own and this has resulted in referrals. However, for the most part such referrals have been realised in the social space, ―Hey, meet Dara, he‘s a good guy.
For me, networking is about human capital (i.e. the knowledge and skill set I offer) combined with social capital (a combination of all my contacts.)
The widely recognised observation; ―it‘s not what you know, but who you know‖ springs to mind. My opinion on this is, like it or not, it has merit. For example; although my stock in the job market should rise considerably with the completion of a Masters, there are many other variables in action. One such competency could be that of networking. However, many successful business people whom had limited resources (e.g. education) have excelled. Figures like Bill Cullen and Bobby Kerr‘s success must, at least in part, be attributable to their networking skills.
Networking is defined as ―a process to build and maintain connections to others for mutual advantage (Clark, 2009). When I look around my immediate contacts, what I witness is a group of mostly ambitious individuals. Interestingly, amongst this group, there is evidence of a wide variance in terms of networking. Some, I notice, will e.g. stay behind after seminars and speak with the host. Some have business cards on their persons at all times. Others meanwhile seem timid and cautious about making new connections. Many use LinkedIn and Twitter as a means of keeping network connections on ice whilst others actively build such relations with regular interactions. Others prefer to separate their social/work life, from their online social networks. My take on the matter is that its not a case of you either have it or you don‘t, it is however a case of you either use it or you don‘t. Networking is a skill. It can be learned, it can be developed.
In my opinion, business, certainly Recruitment, is about people. I want people to trust me with the most important part of their business, that of course being; people. If I can make a positive impression on someone I want to make contact with then I will do so. One of the best ways to do this is by making that person feel good about themselves, and thus relating the instance of meeting me with being made feel good. It‘s a key concept of selling and a basic component of communication.
So I want to work on my networking skills. It sounds like work, it doesn’t have to. I actually feel a lot of such skills can be known and even common sense. I read a lot of books on e.g. communication and relationship developments. What I find is that, often people already know how and why a confident individual may approach say e.g. an Industry leader. The potential benefits could be viewed as non contenscious. What I thus find is that a lot of the time, such reluctances can be specific to the individuals own state of being. What I mean is that, even where individuals are thought the concepts it is left over to their own decision whether to use them or not, and how.
Perhaps one individual has self esteem issues and doesn‘t feel worthy of the Industry leaders time. Conversely perhaps that person is by nature secure and confident in their own skin and portrays a very open and amiable communication style. The point here is this; when approaching a new contact, I am who I say I am. The person they meet (me) is whomever I act like. I have a huge part in painting their perception of who Dara Boland is. There are many clichés about being yourself and such sorts. I personally approach things differently. I often see business contact meetings as a drama. So, yes where possible act ―yourself‖, but where I can put my best foot forward, I will. This is because I don‘t fully agree with this concept of acting ―yourself‖. This concept draws from a lifetime of learned experiences which have crafted the individual. As such many of these learned experiences may have led to say shyness or even an aversion to socializing. I would rather make a new ―yourself‖, the one which you like best, because when you like yourself, you become infectious and people, network contacts, embrace you. The next stage is then to convey the feeling back, when you are warm, open and sympathetic.
I have and will continue to make a concerted effort towards Network building, but crucially also maintaining and building. This has been achieved via online tools such as LinkedIn and Twitter as well as the often more difficult art of; plucking up the courage to speak to people. I believe in myself, I believe I can offer real value to candidates and clients, I am diligent yet also friendly. By meeting and embracing new contacts, I can communicate such worth to them, and it will not only be enhanced but will be amplified. This is a project of mine which is ongoing, and as such will never be complete. Here goes…