Speaker Summary: Stop Wasting Handshakes: Developing a Process for Building Effective, Meaningful Connections presented by Danny L Smith on 8/3

July 22, 2015

in Career Direction, Interviewing, Job Search, Life Skills, LinkedIn, Networking

 Effective networking is not merely meeting, greeting, shaking a few hands and collecting business cards. The purpose of networking is not only to engage with others, but to remain engaged. It takes time and is more effective by developing a specific process.

In his book, “Waking the Dead,” John Eldredge referenced a term used in search and rescue to describe a victim’s level of awareness: “Alert and Oriented.” Levels included 1- deceased, 2 – alive, but unconscious, 3 – dazed & confused… 5- fully awake & alert. Most people go through life “dazed & confused.” Because of this, they are distracted and do not remember much on first engagement with a new person. This is why the traditional 30 second elevator pitch used by most job seekers is not very effective.

Developing a systematic process to engage others over time is much more effective and enduring.

Step 1: Preparation:

Set networking goals prior to attending the event. The primary reason to attend a networking event is to build relationships (over time). Some event goals may include asking:

  • How many people I can have a good conversation with?
  • How can I engage others in a way that makes them curious enough to want to learn more about me, i.e. reading my Linked In or blog?
  • How can I engage with others in a way to build trust?
  • How can I raise their awareness level about who I am and what I do?”

Step 2: Engagement

At the event, engage others with conversations about them: How did you get here? Where were you born? Continue asking questions based on their answers, but let conversation flow naturally. (Don’t turn it into an interrogation.) Two acronyms that may be used as a guide to remember topics to have conversations about are:

  • FORM (Family, Occupation, Recreation and Message ), and
  • FROG (Family, Recreation, Occupation, Goals)

End by asking for their card.

Avoid negative distractions like internal conversations within you that cause drama, offense, judgement. Instead, focus on staying engaged and consider what others are saying. You don’t have to reject or agree with what others say. As job seeker, use the time you’re unemployed to build a healthy self-image. Some healthy “self talk:” This is a great time to take classes, build skills, network, expand my horizons, learn new things…

Step 3: Initial Follow Through

Follow up by email 24-48 hours send a short, simple email:

Example: “It was great meeting you yesterday at (event name). Hope to see you again soon.” Be sure the signature line includes your full name, email, phone number and Linked In URL.

Step 4: Ongoing engagement

Develop a plan to remain engaged. Danny plans for eight times over the next 90 days. It should not be too frequent or in “rapid fire,” but “spaced repetition.

Some ways to continue the conversation (engagement) include:

  • Linked In – Don’t just create a profile and follow others, like, share and comment on their posts, write your own original post. Reference other social media site you engage in frequently (Twitter, LI,
  • Facebook, your blog…)

Sharing someone’s post to your connections is a powerful way to engage. You are inviting them into your world

Step 5: Measure, Evaluate & Correct

Develop / tweak your own process for engagement based on what you learn along the way. One way to measure is to see who clicks on your Linked In.

Keep in mind comments from John Maxwell, people sense victory when they:

  • See someone make sacrifices to see victory
  • Look for ways to win (not excuses)
  • Become energized
  • Follow a plan
  • Help others

Closing remarks:

“He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” Isaiah 40:28-29

We are made in God’s image.
God began with an idea: “Let’s make man in our image.” What do you do with your ideas and thoughts? Inspiration comes when the mind is trying to work out answer a question or solve a problem. Hope comes from a realization we are made in God’s image.

Danny referenced the following sources for additional information:

  1. Know – Can – Do by Ken Blanchard
  2. John Maxwell’s books
  3. Waking the Dead by John Eldredge
  4. Networking worksheets from Danny L. Smith – send email request to Danny@DannyLSmith.com




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