Gen Y: DY lk me? txt Y or N

So today I attended a networking class. I was surprised at the audience. Of all the people present, guess how many were Gen Y???

None.

Surprising isn’t it. I KNOW! Why wouldn’t we show up for a free class teaching people how to network and get their name out there? 

2 reasons:

  1. We are the connected generation – and by connected, I mean disconnected.
  2. We are convinced that our work will speak for itself so we don’t need to connect.

Let’s talk about the 1st.

For Gen Y, connectedness (calm down spell check, I made it up) is our strong suit, right? Wrong. Today, many people judge their influence by Twitter followers or FB friends but in actuality, how many of those people could you call if you needed a job or broke down on the side of the road and they’d come get you? Although we are more connected with technology than any generation before us, all it takes is a quick #GenY search on Twitter to find blog after blog from Gen Y people talking about how lonely we really are.

FB friends ≠ friends

The good news is Gen Y wants to learn. The bad news is we’ve never had to learn how to network. 

In years past, deals were done on golf courses and racquet clubs but with the globalization occurring all around us, it’s changing. How do we stay connected? How do we network? If we don’t have those cigar smoking boomers to draw us into their inner circles and sponsor our CC memberships, how do we do it ourselves?

Here are 3 tips to successful networking. I know they’re old, but they still work. Continue reading

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Networking??? I’m busy today…

The very thought of filling your pocket with business cards, trekking off to the next association event, throwing yourself all over the prospective client/hiring manager/volunteer/waitress, just sends shivers down your spine right?  Some people would rather schedule a dentist appointment thanMilton go to a networking event.  People hate it so badly they’ll pay almost any amount of money or hide behind a computer screen and call it social networking, just to avoid being “The Networker.”

Although we all know the “natural networkers,” most of us do network regularly, but we don’t think about it until we’re in a panic looking for a job.  Think of it like this: when you were learning to ride a bike, what was your biggest fear?  It probably wasn’t falling off the bike.  That was secondary.  The first terror was that your escort would let go of the seat!  “IF YOU LOVE ME YOU WON’T LET GO!” you screamed before reluctantly pedaling.

Maybe it’s like the guy you know who is a wonderful person and you can’t wait to set him up with the girl who’s just perfect for him.  Only when it’s on the line, he’s acting like a completely different person than the one you know.  More than a dufas than you could’ve ever imagined!

Enough with the analogies.  This is what networking forces us to do again later in life.  We have to perform when the game is on the line.  When we’re trying, we’re usually trying too hard but we have to push out of our comfort zone.  Making connections can’t be that hard…right???

Here are some very helpful tips on just how to network:

  1. Be proactive – Always look for a way to connect, preferably, other than business.
  2. You’ve done this beforeQ. How did you get the friends you have now? A. Networking.
  3. People really do want to help – How do you feel when someone asks you for the name of your dry cleaners?
  4. Talk.  Don’t sell. Make a real connection.  If you’re talking about the weather, you’re wasting their time and yours.
  5. Try to connect others.  One way to calm your fears is to go in trying to connect two other people to each other.  They’ll both remember you for it.

Realize that others have the same insecurities you do.  Remember your first kiss?  How you were scared to death and wandered how you’d pull it off?  Well, it turns out they were wandering how to kiss you too.

Hitch

It’s like the movie Hitch with Kevin James and Will Smith.  If you lean in 90%, she’ll lean the other 10%. Make the effort.  Keep finding ways to connect.  Keep Thinking!