Recently I read the book, Switchers by Dawn Graham. (Read my book review here ). There was lots to like but I can’t get her reference to ‘micro-networking’ out of my head…so I’m going to share it here with you 🙂 I will do this sometimes when I have a song in my head and I grab my guitar and just sing it out.
Dr. Graham writes about the importance of networking for people who are switching industries or occupations. Which is true, but all career coaches know the high value of a network for all of our clients, not just switchers. She refers to micro-networking as all the little things you can do to strengthen relationships.
I, too, have referred to networking as ‘relationship building’ which is a better description of what it really is. All relationships take time and energy to build and your professional network is not different. Some people in your network you will reach out to numerous times throughout the year, like my good friend Bob McIntosh who I have only met once face-to-face for coffee, but many times via zoom. Other relationships only need a contact every once in a great while to keep them in touch with you. Yet each time you reach out, you strengthen those relationships.
Why should you invest your time in micro-networking?
- So they don’t forget you
- Someone in your network may need you. They may want to ask you for help but are reluctant to reach out. By reaching out to them, they know you are out there to support them.
Each time you reach out, you strengthen the relationship. I could probably come up with more reasons, but realistically, there are two. They may need you to help them and you may need them to help you someday. We all need people in our lives for support – look at this as no different than your personal friends and family.
What is micro-networking?
Here is my list of what could be considered micro-networking. I’d love to hear what you could add to this list.
- “Liking” “commenting” or “sharing” on social media
- Better yet, Dr. Graham suggests repost articles and offer a summary to your network
- Bring cookies to a meeting…just because (another example in Switchers book)
- Keep track of birthdays and send a note, text, message on LinkedIn. It does not have to be public like on Facebook, just a private message is special. (I texted Sabrina Woods recently…because “someone” had a birthday)
- Ask to meet-up and have a chat, face-to-face or via Zoom. My friend and colleague Scott Woodard is moving out of Maine soon and we scheduled a coffee together recently to catch up before he leaves.
- Suggest a good book or article for someone. This is one reason that I write short book reviews after I read a book. So that I can simply send a link to someone when I learn they might benefit from that book. (See my book reviews).
- Send thank you notes to people…just because. Our individual success is never attained alone. There is always someone you can thank.
- Call them. Wow! Using your phone to make a call! Who woulda thought? Yes, I was reading the Maine Biz magazine recently and there was an article about a guy I worked with 20 years ago and what he is doing today at Southern Maine Community College. So I took a few minutes to find his phone number at SMCC and left him a message.
Ok, it’s your turn.
What else can you do to micro-network
and build your relationships?
Jim Peacock is the Principal at Peak-Careers Consulting and writes a weekly email for career practitioners. Peak-Careers offers discussion-based online seminars for career practitioners focused on meeting continuing education needs for CCSP, GCDF and BCC certified professionals as well as workshops for career practitioners and individual career coaching.
He is the author of A Field Guide for Career Practitioners: Helping Your Clients Create Their Next Move and The Adventure of Finding Me in New Zealand. He is also the recipient of the 2020 Kenneth C. Hoyt Award from the National Career Development Association and the Mid-Atlantic Career Counseling Association’s Professional Contribution’s Award in 2020.
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