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Networking Mistakes and How You Can Avoid Them

By Margaret Stead
Posted Thursday, February 24, 2005

'Fear of rejection' is the major reason why individuals looking for a career change hesitate to use networking as the most powerful weapon in their job search armoury. This is even the case with senior people who you would have thought anybody would be delighted to receive a call from. In 99.9% of cases this fear is unfounded - most professional people are pleased to receive calls from like-minded people and are a pleasure and delight to talk to.

(In all my years of networking and listening to people who are conducting networking campaigns, I have only experienced rude rejection once and that was from Bernard Matthews, the factory farm turkey man. My advice is not to ring him.)

Only yesterday, four of my coaching clients came to see me to tell me about the job and project offers that they were currently negotiating and it got me thinking about how they had each successfully overcome their initial reluctance to network effectively. The 'courage' and 'character' they had shown had made a huge difference not just in their jobs but in their lives.

John Price has always had a personal mission to make a difference in people's lives so it was only a question of giving him some mentoring on his networking to bring out and focus his natural talents for bringing people together. Any initial reluctance to network quickly faded after the first few 'advice meetings' with carefully targeted contacts of mine and he is now an advanced player with a growing network of star performers of his own.

One of the amazing projects he has become involved in is as General Manager of Remploy Automotive growing them as a Tier 1 and Tier 2 component supplier to major car companies. Remploy is the UK's leading supplier of employment opportunities for disabled people. It provides jobs and training in all parts of the economy - as well as its own factories. It assists over 2000 people with a range of physical and mental disabilities to find work every year. In addition, it supports 4,500 people in the employment of other organisations and 6,000 people on it's 80 Remploy factory sites.

As you know we have been involved in major initiatives for years helping disadvantaged and disabled people into work - so this is a major league result for us. Don't hesitate to call us if you'd like to link with John. (0845 130 4344 - UK Lo-call)

Nigel has provided 'Lean Solutions' in the automotive industry for some of the world's most sophisticated car manufacturers and their suppliers. One of the key strengths he has until now undervalued is his ability to mediate with conflicting sides - as one of his networking contacts put recently - "You just come in - pour oil on troubled waters and they are all best friends again, how do you do that?"

Nigel has used his networking learning curve to develop his offering as a consultant to companies who are having trouble with their suppliers and who want to make the best of them. He already has three major projects lined up and a queue forming. If you'd like Nigel to take a look at your suppliers and take advantage of his expertise give us a call on 0845 130 4344 and we'll try and get him to fit you into his demanding schedule.

After three years of working ad hoc consultancy roles, going beyond networking has catapulted Paul into a new full-time role with his previous company's major rivals who sell capital equipment into sports and leisure environments Starts Tuesday. Now Paul is looking to use his new job (our coaching support) and his twenty year expertise in the business to improve access to sports facilities for disabled individuals. Anyone who would like to help, please call us and we'll network you on - 0845 130 4344

Andrew is using his team-building and management consultancy experience to network with like-minded individuals who are interested in developing a sporting centre of excellence for kids. From tentative conversations wiith his local football club to meetings with Sports England, Andrew's networking has taken off big-time and we are now preparing for a conference at the beginning of June on 'Healthy Living and Fitness' (for young people) where many of the people on his Dream 100 Target Networking list will be gathering to discuss the modern problems of stay-at-home/fast food/no school playing fields kids.

On the same page in the Independent newspaper last week there was one report on the government's mission to 'do something about obesity' in kids and another article that reported that 800 planning applications had been submitted in the last year for the redevelopment of school playing fields. (National Playing Fields Association) If you too feel that there has been enough talk and something should be done about it then please give us a call and we'll link you with Andrew.

Many people make the mistake of thinking that the more people they have in their database the more effective their self-marketing is likely to be. I recently saw it described as "He who has the most heads, wins." This is a fundamental error that can lead to so much disappointment and wasted opportunity, because it is not the number of networking relationships you have that is important but the quality of those meetings of minds.

On the home page of our web site at careersnet.com we say (before you can begin networking) "You need to be able to clearly describe what you want, so that when you research your marketplace and identify the people you want to talk to you, you can speak their language and sell your future."

I sincerely believe that this should be posted on a stick note in mirror writing on the forehead of every job hunter - so that when they look in the mirror they are reminded to focus on what they are doing, figure out what they want to achieve, talk to people who have problems they can solve and help them structure a way forward. Once you know who you need to talk to it is very easy for someone like myself to introduce you to a networking contact who can kick-start building your virtuous circle of networking contacts.

About the Author
Margaret Stead - Dream Architect, helps individuals, executives and business owners market themselves online into new jobs, careers - building customer-employer relationships and increasing their job satisfaction. She offers personal coaching, workshops, tutorials, classes and reports on the telephone and in one to one meetings that help people just like you do job hunting that gets results. You can learn more about these terrific resources at (www.careersnet.com)