I am sure you have heard the phrase “if you shoot for the moon then you will hit the stars”, essentially saying have stretch goals and the ones you accomplish will still be epic!
So the opposite end of this is doing nothing and expecting everything to come to you – please don’t fall into this trap. Yes, some people are blessed with being in the right place at the right time and having XYZ going for them but the bottom line is that if you don’t put yourself out there you’re not trying hard enough.
You might remember my post on networking, YES IT CAN BE SCARY – that is no excuse not to do it . . . and there I am talking about networking in person. Here we are going to take it to the next level, which I am going to call E-Networking 😉
E-Networking can be regular networking and keeping in touch with your rolodex of people. The next level – cold calls / e-mails / linked In messages and e-intros! (Side note out of those listed e-intros are definitely the easiest because someone is already connecting you to the contact point and acting as a reference for you – these are jackpots!)
Reaching out is a huge task and actually responding to cold emails is equally important – I will do a follow up post discussing this too 🙂
I want to share some tips on E-Networking so let’s dive in!
- JUST DO IT – The best business advice I ever received was “Annika, this is your career, it’s up to you, no one is going to do it for you”. This is so spot on. If you want to make more contacts in a certain industry, if you want to broaden your skills on a topic, if you want to grow professionally it is up to you! There will be people who help you along the way but let’s be real here, no one is going to walk up to you and say “Hey, I would love to chat with you and see how I can help you”. I am pretty sure if that ever happened I would be scared for what the catch was anyway. All I am saying is break down those fears and go for it!
I want to share a little anecdote on this. Last year I was reading the book “Women, Work & the Art of Savoir Faire: Business Sense & Sensibility” by Mireille Guiliano, she has also written “French Women Don’t Get Fat” and “French Women Don’t Get Facelifts: The Secret of Aging with Style and Attitude” among others (I highly recommend these books). I was completely fascinated by her career trajectory into the luxury industry, her many years as the CEO of Veuve Clicquot and generally her take on life.
I use linked In as both a networking tool and a research tool so I was surfing around and noticed that she was a third degree connection to me, so sent her a message. I figured “what the heck” the worst thing that can happen is that she doesn’t respond. So firstly, I laid out the ground work as to why I was messaging and then found some common ground (my time in France, love of the luxury sector etc.) while weaving it into a smooth message. Lo and behold less than a week later she had responded. You would not believe my face when I saw that message come in – it was like 😀 <— BIGGEST smile EVER! This is the thing though, had I told myself it was so unlikely for her to respond I would have never sent the message and OBVIOUSLY never gotten a response!
2. Find some common ground – When you’re writing these messages you can’t just burst in and say “HELP ME” even if that is how you feel. I was listening to a podcast that was touching on this the other day that talked about how you have to ease in and find some commonality(phew glad Myleik agreed with me). Do your research on their social media (LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter etc etc) then weave it into the conversation. Make it natural! Don’t do this “Hi I saw you follow Holt Renfrew on Linked In, I also like Holt Renfrew” BLEHHHH No thanks. How about staring with why you’re emailing then “I volunteer at XYZ fashion organization as that is the industry in which I am very passionate”. That can be your starter as you weave in other things. Okay, so the example isn’t super deep but you get the picture, you just hint at your similarities not punch them in the face with it. The person you’re messaging will link into what you said and feel there is commonality and be a lot more open to possibly responding to your message.
3. Be formal – This message should not read like a text – none of this “Hi so-and-so, thx 4 meeting me for a coffee oxox”. I know that is extreme, but I am trying to drive home the point that if someone went out of their way to meet you or maybe you haven’t even met them yet, keep it as formal as possible (obviously context plays in, emailing a marketing agency will be different than a financial institution).
4. Don’t get mad – If they don’t respond to your message don’t get an attitude about it. You tried and that is what matters. Also don’t let this discourage you from reaching out to other people. You never know who will respond and what advice they may have for you.
Have you reached out to someone and had a great response? Let me know 🙂