I’ve always been someone who likes to solve problems at the root. I’m also an…
When you put yourself out there to connect with other leaders in positions to help you, it takes courage. If you are an introvert, new to networking, and/or feel resistance, it can be discouraging when you don’t receive a positive response, or worse yet, no response at all. It can be hard to keep going when this happens, but it is important to persevere, up to a point.
One technique that works well is to constrain your effort with any one contact. In other words, give it your all up until a certain point, and then if you don’t get the response you are looking for, move on. Try three things, three times, three ways.
What would this look like in real life? Let’s say that your old boss introduces you to a leader you are trying to meet; you schedule and hold an informational interview with that person. As part of that discussion, the leader promises to facilitate an introduction for you to a colleague in the company hiring for your desired role. You leave the meeting agreed upon that he will do that.
And then he doesn’t. After the meeting, you send a thank you note with a request to connect online, showing gratitude for his time and anticipating the introduction he is going to make. A few days go by, and you receive neither a response nor an introduction. You ping him to follow up via email to check in and remind him of the introduction. You include a short blurb he can attach to the introduction to make it as easy as possible.
A few days more go by, and you hear nothing back. You give it one more try by leaving him a voicemail. After a few more days go by and still no response, you make the introduction to the person’s contact yourself. Energetically, it’s time to move on. If the person you met with eventually reaches out to make good on the promise to introduce you to their colleague, great; however, you are not waiting around for it to happen and are moving on to other avenues to gain access to the people and company you have targeted.
If reading this makes you feel icky, look past the methods to the concept: trying three things, three times, three different ways.
With internal networking, the same approach can apply. You can contact the person directly via email, or online using whatever technology your company uses to connect. In the office, you can sit next to the person at lunch or in a meeting and invite them to meet with you; you can even call them on the phone. Consider sharing useful articles or tools relevant to your past conversations with the person, or that you think may be helpful based on challenges you know they face.
Engage your creativity to figure out methods that work best for your company culture and your natural temperament. Expending a fixed amount of energy to make a transformational ask allows your brain to relax, knowing that the effort spent beyond your comfort zone will be limited. You may find that on the third ping the person finally responds, apologizing for not having gotten back to you before. Don’t throw the towel in too early AND avoid pushing past a reasonable point. You can adjust your approach and the number of attempts to work for you.
This is an excerpt from Merideth’s upcoming book: Your Finest Work: Career Fulfillment in A Complicated World