Why is networking so important to managers
Networking tips for managers
Networking, making new business contacts and benefiting from them are difficult for some. But networking is often the key to success: from daycare to vacant CIO positions, pretty much everything happens through contacts. It's good that the network expert and book author Monika Scheddin reveals her best tips on how to successfully make contacts - and keep them.
CIO.de: Ms. Scheddin, why is networking so important?
Monika Scheddin: Networking is the only life insurance we have. This applies to individuals as well as to companies. If I network today, I'll have my first prey in two years - it just takes time. Companies also need to be able to think two years in advance and understand what is in store for them across all industries.
CIO.de: Why do you need two years?
Monika Scheddin: As a rule of thumb, you need seven contacts, contacts or encounters and about two years of relationship work before relationships are resilient. But that's the biggest problem: When it comes to networking, many people lack the goal in mind. For private individuals this can be: where do I want to go and who can support me. For companies that would be: We want to establish new software - what is the competition doing? Where can we avoid our own mistakes? Everything about careers on CIO.de
CIO.de: I have a goal in mind - what now?
Monika Scheddin: Now comes the difficult part: as soon as I start networking, I have to forget the destination. I have to value the person towards myself and approach them with what is called a non-intentional intention. Nobody likes to be hunted as prey!
CIO.de: That is certainly difficult.
Monika Scheddin: Naturally! We all have an intention, but that has to be postponed first. You should see what connects you with the other person, what topic you have in common. In small talk, you work your way from easy to difficult, from superficial to personal. A program item at an event is always a good topic of conversation. So you can feel your way to the other. Find things in common, ignore what separates them in a friendly manner.
Networking is work
CIO.de: This small talk in particular is difficult for many.
Monika Scheddin: There are several reasons. We Germans simply don't have a culture of small talk. A good smalltalker is someone who listens actively and who is genuinely interested in the topic and in the other person. At the same time, too few companies have real goals. How are executives supposed to network well when the company only provides vague declarations of intent? The employees often swim there. In addition: we all have enough to do, everyone is under stress. Many people find it difficult to network because they have the feeling that they are not doing anything by standing around and chatting. But networking is work. Those who are really committed invest a lot of time in it.
CIO.de: It is often said that networks work well on the golf course or at seminars. Is that correct?
Monika Scheddin: It does. Men in particular are very good at it. But you can also network very well professionally, for example by taking on an office in the professional association of your own industry. And one thing above all else is important: business cards are not a network.
CIO.de: But isn't more contacts better than fewer?
Monika Scheddin: The mass of contacts is uninteresting if I don't have any quality contacts. Take Xing as an example: You can have hundreds of contacts in this network, but you should ask yourself whether they also fit your personal goal. Personally, I only affirm people I've met once before. If I receive a standardized request without a salutation from someone who has 1,500 contacts - then I don't feel meant to be.
CIO.de: What can you do wrong with networking?
Monika Scheddin: Many underestimate people because of their looks. For example, I know a story from a trade fair, where a somewhat torn-down man asked about machines at a stand. He was treated coldly. It was later revealed that he owned a large clothing factory. So a huge order went through the rags. But the most important thing is: if I want to be remembered, I have to position myself.
- Do's and don'ts of networking
Networking is difficult for many - but it's not rocket science. With a few tips and tricks, everyone can learn and benefit from the new contacts.
- Monika Scheddin
Network expert and book author Monika Scheddin reveals her secrets of what good networking looks like - and what you shouldn't do. Because the most important thing about successful networking:
- Networking with a goal and time
For good networking you need a goal, says the expert. "Regardless of whether you want to be manager of the year or an expert in quality insurance - you have to invest a lot of time for it," says Scheddin. It takes two years to "harvest" the first contacts.
- It doesn't work without a goal
"When it comes to networking, many people lack the goal in mind," says Scheddin. If you don't know what to do with the contacts, you can leave it right away. The expert believes that this also applies to companies. You have to give your employees clear goals and not vague requests to generate more sales. Once you have set yourself a goal, Scheddin gives you an important tip:
- Forget your goal!
At least temporarily, namely when you are at a conference or other networking opportunity. "I have to value the person towards myself and approach them with what is known as an unintentional intention," says Scheddin. Nobody is consciously exploited. So be genuinely interested in your counterpart. Your goal must be secondary while you chat with him.
- Only those who are interesting stand out
Now it is important to leave an impression so that the person you are talking to remembers you even after a few days. "80 percent of people just don't stay in the memory. Why? Because they want to be remembered competently. But that doesn't work," says the network expert. If you want to stand out, you have to be interesting.
- Stand out with joy
To make yourself interesting, you can be noticed with joy: "Joy is the best form of positioning," says Scheddin. So you can introduce yourself with "I introduced a CRM system for the company and we received an award for it". It doesn't come across as arrogant, but honest. So you will be remembered.
- Class instead of mass
So many Xing and LinkedIn contacts that you lose track? It doesn't have to be. "It makes a difference whether you know a lot of people - or the right ones," says Scheddin. Therefore, she also advises ...
- Check contacts
... to check the contacts once a year. "If you have too many contacts, you have to thin them out," she says. If you haven't spoken to in a long time, you should sort them out.
- Trust is good
If you have made good contacts, you should also use them. But you shouldn't take advantage of them. "Trust is the currency of networking," says Scheddin. You have to pay attention to how open you can or may be. But if you don't reveal anything about yourself, you will not be perceived as a person and will not be successful in networking.
- What companies can do
As soon as a company regards networked employees as valuable, it can set up small network formats during working hours. "If the colleagues are allowed to go there, they like to go too," says Scheddin. It is important that there is an occasion, i.e. an item on the program, and that the networking format is viewed as work. It is nothing else either. This also applies to business lunches.
- Trap or chance? Business lunch
Lunch meetings are a popular way of networking. "Many underestimate business meals," says Scheddin. "You don't go there to get full."
- What not to eat
Don't eat a salad, advises the expert, and don't eat spaghetti. You chew salad too long - and do you know someone who has never spilled spaghetti bolognese?
- No eating with friends
Anyone who accepts a dinner invitation should keep in mind that they are being watched all the time. "What manners does the person have, how does he treat the staff, does he tip? One should pay attention to such things," says Scheddin.
- There are contacts everywhere, not just at work
You can and should network in your private life too. "There are many different options, from parents' councils to dance clubs," says Scheddin. This type of contact is much more playful. Even if this does not always result in valuable business contacts, one should definitely not do without them, advises Scheddin.
- The least you can do
A basic requirement of networking: "Collect business cards or confirm contacts on Xing and LinkeIn," advises Scheddin. If you then write to the contacts with real interest, meet them for lunch or go hiking, you've already won half.
- More tips
There are more networking tips in the sixth and updated edition of the book by Monika Scheddin: "Success Strategy Networking", 6th edition, Allitera Verlag.
leave an impression
CIO.de: What exactly does that mean?
Monika Scheddin: You have to make an impression. 80 percent of people just don't stay in the memory. Why? Because they want to be remembered competently. But it does not work. You have to do something different, make yourself interesting, that's the only way it works. Even if one is supposedly embarrassing. Something like this happened to me once. During an interview, I met my two (future) bosses.
On the way to the restaurant, the cobblestones in Cologne quickly finished off my boot: I had hardly taken a few steps when a heel broke off. Inside I was incredibly embarrassed. But I asked the two of them to help me remove the other paragraph as well. I got the job later because I was proven to have had a crisis. This is how I was remembered by the superiors.
CIO.de: How can one be remembered without an extreme situation like yours?
Monika Scheddin: This works best with a single sentence. For example, very few people can introduce themselves in one sentence.Think of the famous elevator pitch! So you can introduce yourself with "I introduced a CRM system for the company and we received an award for it".
CIO.de: Doesn't that seem arrogant?
Monika Scheddin: Monika Scheddin: Well, there is showing off and "showing off". If I am really happy about it, to show this joy, then one does not appear arrogant, but sympathetic and purposeful. Joy is the best form of positioning.
CIO.de: I do networks and networks - and nothing comes around. What am I doing wrong?
Monika Scheddin: Maybe the goal is missing. In other cases you are not noticeable as a person. If you don't reveal anything about yourself and sell yourself as a machine, people cannot dock with you. Or: You don't have the right formats that suit you. You have to know whether you go to the Toastmasters, the business juniors or the Elephants Club.
CIO.de: Should one network within a company with a rank below one?
Monika Scheddin: That can be difficult, after all, you are measured by your handling. If I like people with edges, can I officially like them? You have to pay attention to that. But when, as a seasoned manager, I network with younger people, it brings recognition. I might find good new employees through them, get fresh impulses and good questions. I think of it this way: I network with those who are much younger than me and with those who are much older.
Networking is a sales advantage
CIO.de: But if I am a successful manager, do I really still have to network?
Monika Scheddin: This is an absolute must! If I want to change jobs, the new company asks itself which contacts you bring with you - so networking is a sales advantage. For example, I can be a member of business networks or industry networks. Today's working life looks like this: seven jobs in two industries. In these times, networking is a sales advantage. One should remember: I have to set up a network before I need it, so that I can access it quickly when I need it.
CIO.de: Would you like to tell us another secret?
Monika Scheddin: I made the best contacts when I asked for support. This is of course uncomfortable. I asked a manager friend of mine to take part in a panel discussion. That was not just on a Saturday, but also on her birthday. We are still networked today. One should always keep in mind: People do not network for the cause, but for you. Products and services are interchangeable - but people are not.
CIO.de: When did you reach network perfection?
Monika Scheddin: When you just have to react. On the one hand, you can be hardworking and call or write. Or you have increased your attraction to such an extent that people approach you by themselves. You can also establish yourself in-house as an expert on a specific matter. Once you have reached a certain level of visibility, your superiors approach you all alone. It takes more time to set up such a network - but it is much more pleasant.
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