Over the last few weeks I have been networking up a storm as part of my job search. I realize there are tricks to ‘connecting’ and it isn’t just about collecting a stack of business cards at a networking event. I realize that for me personally, I like it when someone actually listens to what I am saying instead of telling me, “I need to go meet some other people.” What kind of connection is that when someone grabs your business card or takes down your contact information and then runs off in the other direction?
I may be new to networking (for this particular job hunt) however, one thing I do know about is developing relationships. You develop relationships by talking with people and having actual conversations about what their challenges and problems are. You need to be able to understand what the other person is looking for whether that includes personal or business needs. Do they just need a person to empathize with them because they had a difficult day, or do they need a contact at a company to help them get in the door because they have been looking for work for 8 months and can’t seem to get an interview?
Customers, suppliers, business associates, and friends appreciate it when you listen and you show that you understand what they are feeling. Who would you rather talk to – the person with empathy or the person who grabs your business card and then moves on for the next ‘card grab’. According to the Dalai Lama people are happier the more personal connections they can make. When he talks about connections, he is talking about the empathetic kind. How can two people relate in regards to their feelings? If you listen to someone, really listen, you just might make a ‘real’ connection instead of only an electronic one on LinkedIn.