“Bernie Schmernie. Forget about ‘im.”
When I worked in outplacement in Dallas I had a client who told me at our first meeting that top of his list in networking was this guy named Bernie. “Bernie is the person to know here in my field. He knows everyone. I’ll call him.” At our weekly appointments I would ask how it’s going contacting people and the answer always came back, “I will do that, but first I need to call Bernie.” By the third or fourth week of that the light bulb finally went on in my head (slow, I know) and I said, “Hold it Ed. Let’s try something else. Don’t call Bernie.” Ed was aghast, “But everyone tells me to call him.” “Yes,” I said, “but this week give the other people on your list a try.” Ed said, “Sure, I can do that.” The next week Ed reported on his activity during the week and he had good news. Calling the rest of the list was “easy”, it yielded some results, and he felt really good about it. “By they way,” Ed said, ” I did finally call Bernie, and you know, he didn’t have any good information for me.” Poof, by doing the easy thing first the block to networking was gone. Make networking easy on yourself. Start with the no pressure contacts. You’ll eventually get to calling the Bernies in your field and you’ll make the conversation a good one. For good advice on how to network, read this article, Three Mistakes to Avoid When Networking, by Dorie Clark writing for the Harvard Business Review. Start a conversation below. What are your challenges with networking?
**Outplacement is job search help paid for by the company for the departing employees. In the 90’s in Dallas, when there were huge layoffs, many very fortunate employees received service from an outplacement firm. Depending on length of service, that might have included months of use of an office seminars and the support of a job search coach.