When I was on the Today Show a couple years ago, I sat down to prep a few minutes before air time. About 45 seconds before we went live, Meredith Viera came onto set. She took one look at the topic sheet, then reached out to shake all of our hands. In the next 30 seconds, she asked a couple questions to get to know us, and then we started the segment.
What was fascinating was that, within those 30 seconds, she was so personable that we instantly felt a connection to her (“Wow, she’s so friendly!”). And I realized that the masters – like the world’s top TV anchors, politicians, and business leaders – are the best for a reason. One of their skills is the invisible talent of being able to instantly connect with someone.
How was Meredith able to instantly connect with all of us? Was it about the words she used? The body language she employed? Or was there something deeper going on?
Building soft skills and deep personal relationships is a mystery to most of us. And what we don’t understand, we’re skeptical of.
That’s why we’re almost all skeptical of “networking” and “building relationships.” We all hear phrases like “The majority of jobs are found through personal contacts.” But how does that actually work? How do you go from knowing your friends to turning that into jobs? How can you make meaningful connections even if you don’t like selling yourself?
Unlock the power of “Natural Networking”
Most people think networking is about being sleazy, slimy, and scammy. They imagine the slick-haired business guy flitting around a room, handing out business cards, then winking and saying “Catch ya later!” Wrong, wrong, wrong. This is a false dichotomy people concoct to avoid learning how networking really works. It’s easier to be disgusted by networking than to learn how to do it right – a classic pre-emptive defense mechanism.
Unfortunately, the dismissive pleasure is short-lived. While you say “Networking is sleazy,” other people are getting ahead – ethically and rapidly.
I call this “Natural Networking,” because it truly is natural. In fact, many of the journalists and CEOs I know will read this. They won’t be alarmed or skeeved out. THAT is how comfortable I am revealing these methods – because not only are they effective, but I can share them publicly.
The first thing you’ll notice is that it’s far more powerful to spend a week trying to meet with one person than a week trying to go to random networking events. In this case, “less is more” is true – it’s far more effective to focus and meet interesting, relevant people than to blindly throw your business cards into the wind. I don’t even think I have business cards any more.
Top performers build their network BEFORE they need it. That’s how they can get laid off on a Monday and have a better job lined up by Friday. Read that sentence again, please – it means that top performers are comfortable meeting people and cultivating relationships with no specific purpose. In fact, it’s almost always to help the other person!
How to use email to connect with almost anyone
As part of my exhaustive research and testing for my Find Your Dream Job course, I developed a number of pre-written, field-tested email scripts. These are word-for-word emails that my students can personalize and use to connect with almost anyone, set up meetings, and make a great first impression.
I’ve used these scripts to boost my own career, and my students have used them to make the connections that turn into Dream Job opportunities.
I want to give you two of my favorite scripts — for free — to help jump-start your Natural Networking today.