Leslie Grossman’s Best Tips For Using Networking To Get What You Want

landing_title_leslie_grossman One of the hottest topics in our online events series this fall has been effective networking. Here is a quick recap of Leslie Grossman’s virtual happy hour on the topic below. Grossman, CEO Chair/ Coach of Vistage International Advisory Board, is a networking goddess herself, as interviewed by our Co-Founder, Gloria Feldt. Read on to know why you should be networking before you actually go network.On how you should start networking:

  • What made Leslie Grossman who she is today? “Things start when you are little.” Leslie’s father is an entrepreneur, and this fire drove her from her early days. Curiosity to ask questions and the desire to know other people helped her launch her first business at 25. Her passion for a greater cause was to help women become successful, and today she is the co-founder of Women’s Leadership Exchange. She says, “All great things happen because of relationships.”
  • Once you create that curiosity within you, to get to know other people, you should start by framing your goal for networking. Know what you really want out of it. And for that, know your goal for yourself.
  • Before you attend any event, prep yourself by learning about the key leaders of the event.
  • At the event, there are two easy things anyone can practice to get started – Look for people who don’t have somebody to talk to and approach them, OR, find a group of interesting people in a conversation and listen in.
  • Show interest in the person you are talking with! Networking isn’t about your elevator pitch; it’s about getting to know each other so you can set up the next meeting – that’s where real things happen.
  • Lastly, it’s not about the quantity of business cards you collect, but the quality of them that matters. [bctt tweet=““Go deep, not wide.””] Following up is the key to these connections.

 On networking in a gender-biased world:

  • Women see networking as an opportunity to make friends, where as men have a clearly defined intent – Women need to define their vision, know what they want, and then share it with the people they meet.
  • There is already an implicit bias towards women’s speech. You want to be authentic, and then you’ve also just got to know your audience. How do you simplify things? “If you want to make the sale, match the other person,” Leslie says. [bctt tweet=““Everyone has several sides, match their personality with that side within you.””]
  • To get better feedback on your “professional etiquette” at a networking event, go with a friend who can provide you with honest critique.
  • When networking with people of the opposite sex, make your purpose clear from the very beginning, and keep repeating it in a gracious manner. Think ahead how you want to brand yourself. If the conversation turns social and you’d rather it not, simply steer the conversations back to a professional topic. If that doesn’t work, excuse yourself from the conversation.
  • A lot of men want to support women, but do not initiate so as not to come off as “telling women what to do.” Be direct with men, ask for what you want. You can gain valuable mentors.

 Networking best practices: 

  • Start by listening. Build trust.
  • Ask people about themselves and make them feel important. Don’t just talk about yourself.
  • “Get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable.” Push yourself out of your comfort zone.
  • If you are a shy person, start by going to events with a friend!
  • Build your own entourage. (Watch Leslie’s Ted Talk on this topic.)maxresdefault
  • Networking is about growing relationships, staying in touch, linking out through your network. (Learn more in Leslie’s book Link Out: How to Turn Your Network into a Chain of Lasting Connections)
  • How to reach out to people at a higher level in your field? You can do one of two things. Use LinkedIn as a tool to see if you have a common connection who can get you introduced, OR, explain to the person you directly report to the reason why you want to connect with someone and ask them to introduce you.
  • How to think about networking in repairing damaged professional relationships? Sit down face to face and show your intent to mend the relationship.

 Last notes:Leslie’s favorite quote to get motivated? It’s one she picked up from former IBM CEO, Lou Gerstner, who had a sign at his desk which read, “The desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world,” a bit of wisdom from John le CarreHer advice is to get out there, have face-to-face meetings, connect with people who you can help and in return can help you! Invest in your network, and build skills to do so. (Check out our 9 Leadership Power Tools To Advance Your Career course coming up in January with Gloria Feldt.)Resources:Link Out: How to Turn Your Network Into a Chain of Lasting Connections by Leslie GrossmanLeslie Grossman’s monthly newsletter.The Value of Having an Entourage : Leslie Grossman at TEDxStLouis5 Rules for Building Trusted Relationships