Three people I’ve known for a long time recently and unexpectedly found themselves out of work. Two of them, a month later, are still in that unpleasant process of looking for a new employer. The third (I’ll call her Barb) found herself unemployed for exactly four hours. The four-hour delay was the time it took for the lawyers to sign-off on her new employment agreement.
What was the difference? They were all in senior management positions. They were all exceptional at what they do with impeccable business pedigrees. Why was Barb able to land on her feet so much faster? The answer is simple, and it speaks to one of the most powerful success habits one can adopt.
Most Of Us Don’t Have This Success Habit
Barb knows a lot of people. I mean, a LOT of people. For as long as I’ve known her, she has been an inveterate networker. Not in the over-the-top, gratuitous schmoozing sense that we sometimes associate with networking, but she makes a conscious effort to establish a connection with everyone she meets. It doesn’t matter if it’s a colleague, a customer, a store clerk or the person who cleans the offices at night. When word got out that Barb’s position was being eliminated, she had two job offers almost instantly.
Most of us really aren’t very good at this. Oh, sure, we get along with people just fine, but we don’t really make a significant effort beyond that. It’s a shame, because those who do make the effort achieve a payoff far beyond the search for a new job. They get more customer referrals, more access to resources and greater support when times get tough. That old adage is indeed true: “It’s not what you know, but who you know.”
Three Things That Can Change Your Life
Here are three rules of networking:
1. Learn to be interested
Most of us are far more self-centered than we realize. Want to really stand out? Develop a genuine interest in other people.
2. Proactively look out for the people around you
Does someone you work with like to garden? Find an interesting article on gardening and send it to him. Know someone looking to buy a house? Introduce her to a real estate agent you know. Look out for the people around you, and you will never have to face challenges alone.
3. Stay in touch
Don’t be that person who only gets in touch when you want something. Send off an email just to say hello. Grab a coffee together. Barb has a simple rule: “Never eat lunch alone.” She forces herself to reconnect with at least one person a day.
Don’t wait until you need something to build a stronger relationship with people. This is a success habit that will serve you well in every aspect of your life.
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