Do The Work !!

Do you enjoy meeting people personally and professionally ?? Does there have to be a compelling reason to do so ?? Is the only reason you meet people is because you read a blog post that tells you to ??

I’ve been thinking about this lately because I thrive on meeting new people. That’s a fact. Whenever I go to a new environment, I reach out to meet people. I really want to get to know them, know who they are and something unique about them. I understand that this isn’t the norm and I wouldn’t recommend it unless you have the capacity to take in more and more folks.

You see, I’m not a collector. Many people who network are because they have some ulterior motive that is intended to result in a sale of their services or products. When this occurs, people are only scratching the surface of truly connecting and yet people continue to do this. Just last week a person who was a guest at the restaurant I work at came up to me and said, “You look friendly and are always smiling. Here’s my card, I represent . . . .” I was floored. No name. No introduction. Just a chance to whip out the 30-second sales pitch because this is how you think it’s effective to meet other people. I threw his card away.

Let me share an example of how networking has a lasting effect – as it should !! My best friend, Fred, calls me every week. Every. Week. He checks in to see how things are with me personally and professionally. He also just stepped up to run a monthly networking group, GETDOT Cincinnati, as their new President. By the way, he’s officially “retired.” Meeting new people really shouldn’t matter to him anymore should it ??

Fred is not only a dear friend, but he’s a great mentor and example that you need to have relationships with those in your network. That is the key !! If you can’t tell others about a connection past a rectangular piece of paper, then they really aren’t a connection at all. Remember, if you’re too busy to make time for others, don’t have them in your network and don’t be in theirs. That may sound a bit harsh, but great connections encourage each other. They don’t use each other.

Do The WorkThe key to networking is to Do the Work !! I think that having a viable network and being an effective networker should be a mandatory skill for all business people and especially for those in HR. Let me be clear – this is a business skill and not a job hunting skill. We’ve lost sight that having a set of “go to” people makes you a stronger professional in your role both within your company and in your industry.

The challenge I see is that HR people are hesitant to reach out and meet others in our field. I don’t understand this because I’ve only seen it benefit me personally and allow me to have access to incredible folks !! This isn’t a factor of being extroverted or introverted. It is a factor that we don’t see the value of taking the time to connect with others.

This week, I’d like you to start doing the work of connecting. Make a commitment to connect with one or two new people in HR. Send them a Linked In request with a personalized invitation. Be active on Twitter and connect with other HR folks and share HR blogs you read with others. Go to events and find a few people you don’t know and take the time to intentionally meet them.

Be good with adding just a few people to your network each week. If you have a larger capacity, meet more people. However, commit to making sure they are connections and not collections. You’ll be a stronger HR pro when you have others around you that can encourage you and share their experiences and knowledge.

I hope you understand that I know that this makes a difference. It will be some of the most meaningful work you’ll ever do !!

11 thoughts on “Do The Work !!”

  1. Agree on all points Steve. The one point I would add is that connecting offers an opportunity to keep pace with with a rapidly changing field of practice. HCM in particular is changing so fast, the ONLY way to keep up is to get connected with practitioners, thought leaders, and industry analysts who are constantly researching this field.

  2. Great advice Steve Truly connecting with others and caring about others is critical. A great mentor once told me to “let your work speak for itself” and the type of work you are referring to forms part of each person’s personal brand

  3. Thank you for getting down to the brass tacks of networking! It’s so much more than the exchange of business cards or LinkedIn requests. Connecting with people is an investment of time that makes us better professionals in our field, better members of our community and when it’s done right supports our growth as individuals. Getting to know a person, what matters to them, why they do what they do and what they want to do fascinates me. It’s an incredibly rewarding experience to help a person with the next step in their career. I never cease to grow and learn something from everyone I meet.

  4. Very effective! I am going to make it one of my goals to send a message to an old friend who lives overseas to keep in touch!

    I would love to ask questions and learn more about networking! I am a student at Temple University studying Human Resources. If you have free time, please contact me.

  5. Thanks for sharing, great advice for all whether in HR or not. every new person you meet is an opportunity for you to learn from them and vice versa.

  6. Steve – you are my mentor and over the years you have taught me to focus on making connections despite being a bit shy. I now love it and can’t wait for the opportunity to meet new people-my favorite thing in the world. And yes it’s about building stronger relationships personally and professionally that benefit everyone in the end. Thank you for being such a force out there!

  7. I really love this. Especially in HR, everything we do should start by being personal. Get to know people: where they come from, where they hope to be, what gets them excited, etc.

    I have found that both in personal and professional lives, people feel lonely – without a true sense of community. I believe it takes a village. Not just in raising kids, but it takes a village, a community, to thrive in life. Be the one to help people connect in that way.

    Excellent words of advice, Steve! Thank you!!

  8. Great post my friend. Connecting is a two way street. Both parties need to see/feel the value in it. Needless to say ours is a two way street.

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