Is Networking Dead?

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I wrote a blog in the beginning of April called How To Network In the Newer New Normal.

April seems like years ago today.  I miss my networking.  The 2 to 3 coffees a day. Drinks after work at the office.  The networking events exchanging business cards and standing next to somebody with a glass of wine in my hand chatting.

I miss connecting the dots and connecting folks with common backgrounds like language, culture, or experiences.  “You should meet this person.”

Many people attended networking events to show the flag as the expression went.  Being seen has great value.  It creates personal awareness for a person.  There is a famous restaurant in Buenos Aires called Café La Biela.  When I went the first time, I asked the waiter why it costs to sit outside.  He looked at me with a bit of curiosity and said, “because you will be seen sir.”

Oh, I still try to network.  I talk to folks, have the occasion well separated drink with somebody I know to catch up, but it doesn’t seem to be the same.  I like meeting strangers and the discovery and creation of common touch points to build connection.  I like the mystery and challenge of that journey.

I look at the Notification feed on LinkedIn daily and congratulate folks on birthdays and promotions.  A like or a congrats comment does provide some engagement, but it is not working a room.

I listen to news and conversations from around the world and one thing appears to be clear in a cloudy world.  Most people miss social engagement.  We miss people.  I know I do but networking is what I do.  My network employs me, nurtures me, teaches me and rewards me.  I need my people fix.

A group I attend virtually wanted to have an in-person networking meeting.  A great intent for sure but did I feel comfortable attending.  No really. Mixed.  I asked some of my friends, some in different countries would they attend?  No was what they said.  The event was cancelled. 

So, is networking dead?  Maybe not dead but changed for sure.  I live in California so attending an outdoor event in the New Year may happen.  Not sure when. Will people wear masks?  Probably.  Will they stand two meters apart?  Probably not.  Will they shake hands.  Probably not.  Will you exchange business cards?  Maybe.

So, what is your take?  Would you attend an in person outdoor meeting?  How long before you feel comfortable doing that?  How are you networking today?

How to Network In the Newer New Normal.

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I am a networker.  I have spoken about effective Networking across the country.  I have created a lot of content about networking.

Social isolating is challenging for me.

I have always said that networking is not about going to an event but about having an attitude of engagement.  Connecting with people all the time.

I think there will be changes in consumer behavior after this crisis.  I see signs of it already.  I have reports that in some parts of China that have reopened people are nicer to each other.

When I go on my daily social distancing walk in a park near my house people I pass or meet now say hello or wave.  In the past they would look down at the sidewalk or path.  Peaceful in their own cocoon.

Zoom has become a ubiquitous part of human interaction in just a few weeks.

It is a powerful way to network and stay in touch.

I was on a Zoom call with Canadians in OC the other day creating community but also staying in front of peeps.  I am one of the Founders of the Group. Canadians in OC might seem like a social group and it is.  But 13% of California’s trade is with Canada so there is a commerce piece to it.  It is also estimated that approximately 1 in 40 Californians have Canadian routes.

I will be on a Zoom call tonight with Laguna Niguel Connectors.  It originally started as a transition group but has evolved into a business networking Group.  It has over 4500 members.  I am also one of the Founders.

One way for you to network in the Newer New Normal is to start your own group.  Seems hard you say.  Canadians in OC was started by a conversation between two people.  Laguna Niguel Connectors by a conversation between four people whose only commonality was living in Laguna Niguel.  Once the flame is lit the group grows organically if it composed of likeminded people.

This is also a great time to reach out to all of your clients new and old and to prospects to just check in on how they are doing?  How is their business going?  How are they coping?  You will find that in these times their responses often share more of how their personal life is going.  It is a great way to reconnect and stay top of mind with folks and build more meaningful relationships.

You know the daily stream that you get on LinkedIn notifications?  Well know this is the time to engage with those notifications.  Great time to congrats folks on talking a new position.  Congratulate those that have birthdays.  Great way to reconnect and also to engage and build new networking relationships.

A great way to network today in this socially isolated world is to talk live.  Yes call people.  You will find that it is easier to get people to take a call.

It is all about reaching out and touching somebody as the old ATT ad used to say.

It is ironic that in a world that is ravaged and upside down every contact today seems to be a bit closer and more personal, often sincere and more important in many ways.  That is why you need to network.

Why You Have to Up Your Networking Game.

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I meet a lot of people each and every day.

Recently, I’ve met with some great connectors that I’ve known but not at a networking event. One on one. In their offices for a glass of wine, a coffee or over lunch.

They said they were tired of the old networking game.

The large group networking game was very popular during the Great Recession and its sputter of today. The shotgun approach. In the depths of the Recession any activity was progress. The fire of the recession is not out. The embers are still red hot for the folks who are looking into the fire of losing their jobs. It happens every day, even in these days of low unemployment.

The people I met with are great networkers. Many are much better than I in their ways so I listen to their comments. Maybe I can incorporate what works for them into my ways.

They often tell me that they are networking less and in different ways. Continue reading

How the Great Recession Still Lingers in Today’s Workplace

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Yes the fear is still there even if you are working with your decimal point salary increases since that time. Today many young people will trade money for place but that doesn’t mean your company’s self-promotion about being the best company to work for in your town.

False best places to work are ubiquitous. The truth is less often found.

The Great Recession impacted salaries for sure. My eyes get wide when I am recruiting for companies. I got a job spec for a major agency global account lead and the salary was less than I made 15 years ago when I wasn’t a global agency lead.

I would have loved the perks and the miles. Continue reading

What’s Your Obligation If Somebody Helps You Find a Job?

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I had a Starbucks with a stranger the other day.

I asked him how he got connected to me.

He said I helped one of his friends get a job at a great company.

I didn’t readily recall her name but her photo on LinkedIn returned her to my memory.

I never got any business leads from her after she got the job but I got a lot of nice projects from her company. Any connection?  Who knows?

I helped her during the Great Recession. Remember the Great Recession? It started a year after the first iPhone was introduced almost to the day. Continue reading