It’s an unfortunate fact that we remember negative experiences longer than positive ones.
There is also evidence from psychological research suggesting the existence of a broader human tendency to see ourselves through rose-colored glasses. Most of us think that we are better than we actually are—not just physically, but in every way.
While there is also research that says otherwise, we can draw one conclusion—it requires a little effort to leave a positive professional impression. We can’t just show up at an interview and ignore the receptionist, or offer a limp handshake, forget to smile or act arrogant and expect to land the job. Still, these are more common practices than not. While we ‘think’ we are doing everything we should do we might need to reflect on the true lasting impression that we leave.
Take this example.
Recently, I had a business meeting with a colleague who has transitioned his career from education into business coaching. I was excited to hear more and learn about how I could refer individuals to him who are in need of strategic business coaching.
Unfortunately, the networking meeting left a negative impression after he monopolized the conversation and ended it with a hard “you can’t say ‘no’” sales pitch. I know he was excited to build his business but I was not only dismayed but a little unnerved at the pressure to be part of his system. He actually wouldn’t let me leave without signing up for his free course. But after that experience, I don’t feel comfortable sending business his way.
Still, we all make mistakes.
Hey, we’re all human. We get nervous. We say things we regret and we make mistakes. But most of us know how to own this. I find that when I’ve realized that I’ve made a networking faux pas or forgotten to bring my ‘A Game,’ the best course of action is to go back and apologize, explain or correct the infraction. Developing the interpersonal skill of self-awareness is critical if you want to succeed.
So how about you?
Are you willing to join me in some continual self-reflection and course correction so we can all leave our network wanting more?
That’s why it’s imperative that you ensure that you always leave a positive impression—especially with those who can influence your career future. And whether you like it or not, networking is incredibly important when it comes to advancing your career, but “cold” conversations can be daunting and as dry as an empty coffee cup. That’s why making networking authentic, tasteful and fluid (no pun intended) is vitally important. And speaking of coffee, many times networking can happen over coffee, tea, lunch and other face-to-face venues. You need to be prepared so that you are not stumbling or grasping for your notes.
Plan in advance for our network meeting so you can always leave them wanting more. Here are four tips to get your networking game going strong.
- First, be clear about your intentions. Let the person you’re inviting know that this meeting is set to get to know one another and what else you hope to accomplish
- Be honest and genuine in your communication. Don’t use this time to try out another personality or give off an arrogant vibe. You need their help and want them to “connect” with you so be relatable.
- Come prepared with conversation topics and questions. Even if you’re planning a casual conversation, having some key points and queries will show preparedness and help you have a concise and targeted talk.
- Don’t forget to follow-up. They’ve taken the time to meet with you, so it’s your turn to follow-up with a thank you note. Also, if you want to build a strong career network, don’t let this meeting be the last. It’s up to you to keep the conversation flowing online and in person.
I hope this article has provided you with a few applicable ideas for successfully building your network. I would be honored if you shared this on social media. And speaking of sharing, please share your own ideas and experiences below. Together we can build a happier career community that focuses on supporting each others success. – Be Career Happy, Coach Kim
How to Be Career Happy? Leave Your Network Wanting More