Networking: The Power of Creating Connection

The Shaping Leaders session on Networking and Personal Branding at the National Business and Technology Conference was hosted by Bobby Umar, P.Eng, MBA, the President of Raeallan, a transformational leadership and speaking company.

Bobby discussed the importance, the why, and the how of networking. He spoke about – and made participants try – proven strategies and tactics, through interactive activities. He made connections to personal branding in person and on the web.

What does leadership mean to you? Bobby says that we can all be leaders – the question is whether you want it or not. But what makes a good leader?

Leaders Connect and Question
Leaders know who people are, understand their stories, and what they mean to them. Leaders ask the right questions, like: What if we could land on the moon? How can we get computers in every classroom? What if we could hold the entire world in one hand?

How Can I Help You? – Leaders need to think how they can help others.
You Need to Want It – Nobody will force you to.
Power of Connection – Bobby often speaks about the Power of Connection. The key is to become an authentic networker.

Why Do We Network?

  • Uncover new and unseen opportunities
  • Get better interviews
  • Enhance your credibility
  • Less competitive circumstances?
  • Gather valuable information

You’re always going to have to deal with people. You’re always having to deliver expectations. So get good at Networking!

Why Network?

  • Easier to obtain meetings
  • Information meetings more related, 2 way
  • Even if it doesn’t get you a job, you get info and referrals
  • The key to unadvertised positions
  • Less people used this approach

What Networking is NOT

Networking is not standing around, being fake, or talking about the weather. It is also not:

  • Asking for a Job (change of availability is small anyway; even people you know will shy away)
  • Take, Take, Take (Just give, start a beautiful relationship)

Get Networking

  1. Everyone is a potential contact.
  2. Set up information meetings (phone, email, LinkedIn)
  3. Follow-up (not following up makes networking useless)

Networking Strategies and Tactics

Every person is a bridge to someone else. And, Bobby insists, you gotta want it!

  • The approach – don’t hesitate about entering a group conversation, give a very quick introductions (keep it short). User power words like: Excuse me, or sorry to interrupt.
  • Go with the flow – don’t be against what anybody is stating. You can’t just interrupt or be irrelevant. Ask the right questions.
  • Seal the deal – determine a follow-up. End the conversation. Keep moving!
  • Shelve your shyness – 50% of people say they are shy.
  • Engage the person you are speaking with – smile!

Bobby says networking is the beginning of a beautiful, authentic relationship. You can find a co-founder, partner, wife or husband, apparently.