[02.10.10]
30 great comments!

New Networking Strategy: Get Naked

At first blush, you might find this topic a bit unsettling.  But after you sit with it for a few minutes, I think you’ll come around.  To my way of thinking.

The normal advice for networking is to go in strong.  Confident.  Be that person someone wants to hire.  Tomorrow.

And normally I’m right there with you.  It is the correct posture for most people.  Not cocky, of course.  But sure enough of your skills and abilities that folks will want to spend time with you.  That you are worthy of an initial five minutes of networking.  Instead of someone else.

But what if you are not in that great place everyday.  You are in a rut of epic proportions.  And genuinely need help from your network.  And instead of asking for help you act like you don’t need it.  It’s all good, you say.

What then?

Well, after the networking event is over and you’ve high-fived all those people you always act confident with.  You head to your car and sit there.  Just sit wondering what you are going to do next.  Because even though everyone got the impression that you are well organized, have a full schedule of coffee meetings and a slew of new leads.  The truth?

You aren’t.  You don’t.  And don’t.

And the problem is you are the only one who knows the truth.

And because you put on such a good performance, everyone is spending their networking time with others.  Some who have asked for help or at least opened up a small window to what was really happening in their job search.

I hear from some of the people who are feeling a little stuck.  I respond with an invite to say hello by phone.  To help with a few new ideas. During my commute to work.

Some call and some don’t.  But at least they are reaching out to someone.  And recognize in themselves that not all is rosy.  At least not right now.

So the idea here is to take off the heavy coat that’s hiding the real situation.  If you need help, ask for it.  And when someone answers the call, pick up the phone.  And then say confidently “Hey, if you’ve got a minute.  I could really use your help with something.”

But let me be clear.  This is not your invitation to soapbox your job search issues.  With a loud and public cry for help.  Because some will see that as it is.  A train wreck.

If your pride is preventing you from saying so.  Take this advice.

And get naked.

Tim Tyrell-Smith is the creator of Tim’s Strategy. As a blogger, Tim has been a regular contributor to U.S. News and World Report, interviewed twice on NPR and is the author of two career books (“30 Ideas” and “HeadStrong”). Become a fan at http://facebook.com/TimsStrategy and follow on Twitter (@TimsStrategy). He lives with his wife and three kids in Mission Viejo, California.

Tim Tyrell-Smith – who has written posts on Tim's Strategy®.



Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
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Categories: Social Networking
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  • http://www.kevinliebl.com Kevin Liebl

    Tim,

    Great advice, as usual. I couldn’t agree more. We often go to networking meetings and present ourselves as if everything is great and we have it all under control. The take-away from others is, “this guy doesn’t need help”. They walk away without an action item. You can’t get help from others if you don’t ask.

    I think one of the most powerful tools you can have is a “transition document” that lists your target companies and a very specific statement that say, “Here is how you can help…”. This is a great document to pass around to others as you network because when they get home, there is a specific action item. They know how they can help you. It may be getting an introduction into a target company, or an introduction to a specific type of company, etc…

    Again, no one will help unless you ask. Great advice!

    Kevin Liebl
    http://www.kevinliebl.com

    • http://www.timsstrategy.com Tim

      Thanks Kevin. And agree completely with the transition document or “one sheet”. Gives you a platform to confidently request help and, hopefully, offer it back.

  • http://www.kevinliebl.com Kevin Liebl

    Tim,

    Great advice, as usual. I couldn’t agree more. We often go to networking meetings and present ourselves as if everything is great and we have it all under control. The take-away from others is, “this guy doesn’t need help”. They walk away without an action item. You can’t get help from others if you don’t ask.

    I think one of the most powerful tools you can have is a “transition document” that lists your target companies and a very specific statement that say, “Here is how you can help…”. This is a great document to pass around to others as you network because when they get home, there is a specific action item. They know how they can help you. It may be getting an introduction into a target company, or an introduction to a specific type of company, etc…

    Again, no one will help unless you ask. Great advice!

    Kevin Liebl
    http://www.kevinliebl.com

    • http://www.timsstrategy.com Tim

      Thanks Kevin. And agree completely with the transition document or “one sheet”. Gives you a platform to confidently request help and, hopefully, offer it back.

  • Aaron

    Could you expand on “get naked?”

    • http://www.timsstrategy.com Tim

      Hey Aaron – The idea for networking is to remove the “I’ve got it all together” mentality and allow yourself to ask for help. If you need help and don’t ask for it, you are wearing too many layers and need to “strip down” to a more honest and open posture.

  • Aaron

    Could you expand on “get naked?”

    • http://www.timsstrategy.com Tim

      Hey Aaron – The idea for networking is to remove the “I’ve got it all together” mentality and allow yourself to ask for help. If you need help and don’t ask for it, you are wearing too many layers and need to “strip down” to a more honest and open posture.

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  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/simonhamer Simon Hamer

    Like your style Tim

    • http://www.timsstrategy.com Tim

      Thanks for that Simon. Cheers!

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/simonhamer Simon Hamer

    Like your style Tim

    • http://www.timsstrategy.com Tim

      Thanks for that Simon. Cheers!

  • http://www.connectcraft.com Mike

    Great points and website/blog too! I read ‘naked’ here as being honest and asking for help. Most people at some level want to help their friends/network; this is the best of human nature. It is unfortunate but the downside is that for many their ‘network’ of coworkers may include sharks or aspiring sharks eager to see blood in the water [this is why you/we have to 'act confident' in these crowds]. Generally I’d rather believe in people / ignore the sharks and once productive and rolling again you won’t miss that pound of flesh anyway (I wouldn’t anyway :<)

    • http://www.timsstrategy.com Tim Tyrell-Smith

      Hey Mike! You read it exactly right. The downside is there also as you suggest and I’m with you on believing in others first . . .

  • http://www.connectcraft.com Mike

    Great points and website/blog too! I read ‘naked’ here as being honest and asking for help. Most people at some level want to help their friends/network; this is the best of human nature. It is unfortunate but the downside is that for many their ‘network’ of coworkers may include sharks or aspiring sharks eager to see blood in the water [this is why you/we have to 'act confident' in these crowds]. Generally I’d rather believe in people / ignore the sharks and once productive and rolling again you won’t miss that pound of flesh anyway (I wouldn’t anyway :<)

    • http://www.timsstrategy.com Tim Tyrell-Smith

      Hey Mike! You read it exactly right. The downside is there also as you suggest and I’m with you on believing in others first . . .

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