5 Articles About Networking Worth The Read

23 11 2011

With the hectic holiday season approaching, and all the opportunities for socializing and networking that go along with it, I wanted to share 5 articles I’ve come across that are definitely worth the read (yes, one is mine).

1) Here’s one about networking as “lifetime career insurance”

2) Quality versus quantity is always the way to go

3) Here’s one that discusses the difference between how men and women approach networking differently

4) The holiday season is NOT the time to pull back on your job search and with so many networking opportunities around them, it’s no wonder

5) What NOT to do while you’re out there networking this holiday season

Hope your takeaways from these help you enjoy the holidays just a little bit more. 🙂


Last Chance to Register for Oct 5th 12 Rules of Effective Networking Webinar

3 10 2011

Being a strong networker can mean the difference between getting a great job offer and remaining unemployed. On the job, your network can help you stay employed when the lay-off cycle comes around. Register today to learn how to further develop your networking skills!

Yes, it’s your last chance to sign up for my FREE, thanks to UnitedHealth Group, webinar on Oct 5, 2011 for Out & Equal Workplace Advocates:

12 Rules of Effective Networking – http://ow.ly/66NHD (To register.)

The webinar is hosted by Out & Equal’s LGBTCareerLink, a great and supportive resource, and is a repeat of one I did for them last year – they have over 500 sign-ups already! (Last year they had 200!)

Here’s what some of the attendees said about last year’s webinar:
“She breaks down networking, a process that used to mystify me, into practical steps.”

“Frankly, networkers turn me off with their pushiness. I prefer Sandy’s approach which shows how networking is actually sharing in the spirit of community service.”

“I’m not outgoing naturally and I often don’t know what to say to people I don’t know. Sandy changed all that for me.”

“I work for a high-profile company where people are always trying to network with me to get a job. They go about it the wrong way by being in it for themselves and even pestering me. I will be recommending Sandy’s “12 Rules” webinar to them!”

Hope you can join us! Register here.

How To Go It Solo at a Networking Event

2 08 2011

I’ve recently been asked to share my advice on how best to approach attending an in-person networking event when you have to go it alone, so I thought I’d just provide access to a PDF of the Nov. 2010 article I wrote for the now (sadly) defunct site: WomenEntrepreneur.com.

I’m also including a link to the article via Box.net. Please feel free to share it with others, and because the site where it first appeared no longer exists, I’m also reprinting a few of the tips I included in it here. Please let me know if you try either of these and how they turn out for you. 🙂

Two additional pieces of advice that I’ve used and have seen help solo attendees again and again:

1. Find the event’s host(s) or any of its sponsors and introduce yourself to them with the same warm smile and handshake as above, and then thank them for hosting and/or sponsoring the event. Remember, these people are hosting the event and they want everyone there to have a good experience — just as you would if you were hosting a party or event. You can then ask about their connection to or role with the group/event and find out what their goals are for the evening. You might be surprised by what you learn, and maybe you’ll discover a few ways you might help them.

If nothing comes to mind immediately, ask for a business card and make a note of their need on the back of it. Let them know you’ll be in touch if you come across whatever it is they need. At that point, explain what made you attend the event and your own goals for attending, and just wait and see what happens next. More often than not, they just might try to help you connect with other folks at the event or will follow up with you via e-mail or phone.

2. Get in line for something, whether it’s food, drink or the bathroom (seriously). Use that time to ask the person of your choice (in front or behind you) if she’s connected to the event or a member, or know anyone who was nominated. Or if it’s someone you know slightly, try one of my all-time favorite openers, which anyone can answer: Find out what they’re working on. For example, “Hi Britney, good to see you. Sandy Jones-Kaminski from Bella Domain (in case she looks like she doesn’t remember you); we met at the spring luncheon. How are things going? (Let them answer.) So what are you working on these days? Anything exciting?”

Sometimes the answer is something fun, like planning a trip to Australia. Or it might even be something you can assist them with by connecting them to a resource. If there aren’t any lines at the event, just look around for another solo person and practice any of the techniques mentioned above. I’ve met some of my favorite contacts that way, and they now make it a practice to do the same thing whenever they attend any type of event.

Networking defined and why it matters

27 07 2011

Find out how I define networking and why I think it matters by watching the interview I did with Steve Piazzale, Ph.D., the host of  “You’re Hired!”

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Learning to Love LinkedIn Tip #11

6 05 2011

I thought I was done with these LinkedIn tips, but apparently I am not. 🙂

I just received an email from LinkedIn about using their messaging system and InMails in particular. They shared 5 good tips on how to make the most of these communications and I thought I should share it because most of this applies not only to InMails, but also to any  email or message within LinkedIn or elsewhere, and regardless of the degree of connection:

1.First impressions count: Use a direct and informative subject line to make it clear what your message is about.  

2.Less is more: Keep your message clear and concise. Longer messages tend to have lower response rates.  

3.Mention common threads: If you know someone in common, or have similar backgrounds, mention it. It’s a great way to start a conversation.  

4.Build credibility: Make sure your LinkedIn Profile is complete and up to date. A strong profile can help strengthen your message.  

5.Reach out with confidence: InMails have a response guarantee*, so don’t be afraid to send them out. (Nice that they have a guarantee, but coming across with confidence is always key…just try not to come across as cocky.)

And, one last thing from Guy Kawasaki with which I totally agree: 

The ideal length for an email is five sentences. The ideal content level is one idea. If you’re asking something reasonable of a reasonable recipient, simply explain who you are in one of two sentences and get to the “ask.” If it’s not reasonable, don’t ask at all.

Help Me Help You: Tell Me What You WANT To Do Next and WHERE You Want To Do It

22 04 2011

Now that I’ve wrapped up my first 2 weeks in my new role as a full-time employee for FILTER, a digital solutions agency for staffing and creative services in San Francisco (and Seattle, LA, Portland), it’s finally time for me to put this request in writing because, quite frankly, helping people connect with employers in my new job pretty much depends on it. JessicaMillerMerrell.com birds

When I meet you out and about at an event, on a BART train, in line at Specialty’s or at a board meeting, please tell me NOT what you’ve done, but what you really WANT to do next and WHERE you want to do it. Give me a few titles or roles I can remember and a few company names I can latch onto so I can keep an eye out for them when I’m out there doing my thing.

And for those in both Seattle and San Francisco, be sure to tell me where you DO NOT want to work as well. We all have our lists of both, so don’t be coy and act like you’ll take any job because, even as bad as things have been, we all know that unemployment has been a much more desirable option than taking a job at a place with a commute that’ll kill you and/or destroy your relationships, or at a place like “the Death Star” (don’t ask).

If you’re worried that you’re limiting yourself by this, when you go to your next event, or send your next “I’d like to meet for coffee to reconnect” email, be sure to tell that person 2-3 different roles and/or company names so you can plant a variety of seeds in your garden. Help them help you! 🙂

ad:tech 2011 The Lean Back Conference Attended By (Mostly) Lean Forward Types

15 04 2011

Something new I’m starting: Event Reviews of things I attend. Here’s my first for  ad:tech 2011  in San Francisco and what I’ve decided to name it:

The Lean Back Conference Attended By (Mostly) Lean Forward Types


ad:tech 2011  – San Francisco, CA – Moscone Center West

Held by: ad:tech/DMG World Media

Date: April 11-13, 2011

Business reason for attending:

Networking, reconnecting and visibility at the only west coast location of this international conference series attended by mostly industry decision makers.

Notes: This conference was structured as what I’d call a “lean back” event, but was mainly attended by “lean forward” types that quickly disengage and revert to their own personal screens (mobile, iPad, laptop, etc) if the interaction levels or focus required aren’t there. An example of a lean forward event would be an unconference, freeform conference or something-camp. This chart illustrates the lean back vs lean forward concept:

(Source of table: http://dev.butlertill.com/wordpress/index.php/2010/06/11/lean-back-vs-lean-forward-media/)

This phenomenon is highly relevant to this ad:tech event because it also impacted most of typical informal opportunities for networking. I can explain this best by describing connecting scenarios that were typically always available and recommended in the past:

  1. Waiting in line to check into the conference
  2. Being seated in the room before a session begins and chatting up your nearby neighbors
  3. Sitting in a lounge area while folks are checking vmails between sessions
  4. Waiting in line to chat with one of the presenters or panel hosts
  5. Waiting in line for the restroom (usually only applies to women since there always seems to be a line) or coat check
  6. Attended and working the room at the end of day networking activities

In all of the above scenarios the typical modus operandi for most was to lean forward into a screen to: text, check email, look at Facebook (chat with friends there), check in on Foursquare (that could produce some occasional connecting but most folks are lurkers there at events like this), scan a Twitter stream, check out the site(s) of the presenters you just saw, check in w/the office, etc. You get the idea.

Even during the breaks there would be 7  or so people around a round table all sitting together and no one was speaking to each other — they were all leaning forward into a screen. What’s interesting/odd is that there was only one single instance where the host/event facilitator asked the keynote attendees to remember that networking was a big reason we were all there and to find a stranger around your seat and introduce yourself to them.

I could go on about this, and what I would have done differently if I were hosting, but I won’t b/c it wasn’t my event and I did my best to make the most of the opportunity in spite of the challenges. I definitely believe this was still a good use of my first week/time because I was able to spend a few hours intermittently with an industry association board president, and ĂĽber-connected all around good guy who made a point of introducing me to everyone that stopped or approached him whenever we reconnected at the conference. I also met and chatted with quite a few of his other board members and we are now already linked via LinkedIn.

And, yes, there were a few standout presentations from Guy Kawasaki, Jeffrey Cole (www.digitialcenter.org – a think tank), Arianna Huffington (she kept saying “loca” for “local” which most women in the audience with even a basic understanding of Spanish chuckling), and the champion for “digital fitness,” Bonin Bough, the head of digital and social media for Pepsico. He was smart, funny and very “lean forwardy.”