By Liz Reyer
Star Tribune (Minneapolis).
Question: I think I should start doing more networking and wonder how to go about it. I’ve been in the workforce quite a long time so I have a lot of lapsed connections.
Answer: Look for enjoyment in reaching out to people; let the benefits follow.
THE INNER GAME
“Should” is an interesting concept. What do you think about networking if you remove that sense of obligation? Do you feel called to reconnect for some reason? Or perhaps there is some kind of fear or regret that is motivating this. It’s important to understand the reasons that you want to take this on, so set aside some time for reflection.
Take some breaths, and let your mind settle down. As you focus inward, notice how you feel when you’re relaxed. Now think about another “should” task in your life and notice if it changes how you feel, either physically or emotionally. Switch back to a neutral state of mind, and then think about something you want to do. What does positive anticipation feel like? Now, the test, when you think about networking, what types of physical or emotional responses emerge?
If you have a positive reaction, you’re in good shape; you’ll just need to think through the tactical plan to make it happen. If networking sounds like a hard thing to do, you’ll be more successful if you set it up to play to your strengths and preferences.
You also need to be clear about the outcomes you seek. For example, are you expecting to be on the job market, or do you just feel disconnected?
THE OUTER GAME
How do you like to interact? Are you a one-on-one type or do you thrive in groups? Set up your strategy to be as appealing as possible; there is no right way to proceed.