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Whether you have a job that entails regular conferences or you’re a freelancer who gets to work like a hermit, you’ll probably need to network at some point in your life. Here’s how to do it so everyone you touch gains from the experience.
It’s an indisputable fact that personal contacts open doors. One classic study, outlined in the book Getting a Job, showed that among the 282 men surveyed, 56 percent had found their jobs through personal contacts, whereas only 19 percent had found theirs through job advertisements and 10 percent through applications of their own initiative.
So, you’re never first to raise your hand during meetings and you’re uncomfortable schmoozing with strangers at networking events. Does that mean you’re doomed to fail in the business world?
Not even close, shy one.
Those on the quiet side tend to be good listeners, giving them a serious edge over their more talkative, sometimes oversharing counterparts, says etiquette coach Jacqueline Whitmore, founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach.
One of the first people we met when we began marketing in Orange County was Bill Ellermeyer. I met him at a mixer where I noticed the ever changing number and types of people speaking with him. Some younger, some older, people in hip hop regalia and guys in suits we’re engaged with him in conversation.
When I finally spoke with him I noticed two things. First, I felt like I’d known the man for more than a few moments, and second, he was an incredible listener. How this listening manifested itself was he asked questions that got at what I was thinking, not just saying. Within a ten minute conversation, he had a good grasp of my business and gave me a road map of whom to speak with and where potential partners and clients might be found. All of this information was delivered with wit and enough political savvy that the relationships of the people we discussed became apparent. It was a seminar. Then, as quick as it started it was over, both of us shaking hands and continuing to work the room.
This is what Bill Ellermeyer does. He sees patterns. He makes connections. He then takes that vision and applies it to his clients who are primarily executives exiting the corporate world in search of the next illusive job or in some cases coming to grips with the idea that the next position won’t be there for them at all.
There have been a lot of books written about business networking and referral marketing. I’ve written quite a few of these myself. There have also been a lot of books written about the difference between men and women. However, it dawned on me that no one had ever made the effort to combine the two subjects. With that realization, a new book project was born.
Over a four-year period, more than 12,000 businesspeople participated in a study focused around 25 simple questions. After analyzing the results of the survey, I was ready to speak about the results from an expert perspective in the book. I gathered together two of my fellow networking experts: Frank DeRaffele, to write from the male perspective; and Hazel Walker to write from the female perspective. Our combined knowledge and experience came together to bring a unique perspective to this innovative book.