The Power of Networking – week 6
This weeks highlight had to be attending Ben Elkin’s talk at Nike, Ben interned at Nike in 2004, and now serves as Director of Nike Contingent Work Force. His talk was all about networking and connecting with people and taking advantage of reaching out to others in the best way, he shared a lot from his experiences, tips, do’s and don’ts. It was definitely a great talk with a lot to walk away with, and this is what he covered:
How to Maximize Our Networking?
Obvious truths about “Networking”:
- In almost any company or industry, networking plays a pivotal role in jobopportunities, career growth, and your general ability to get things done.
- Your job is the best weapon/ambassador you have—your quality of work,who you work with cross-functionally, your sense of teamwork.
- Effective networking doesn’t come naturally to everyone , but it ainrocket science and it gets easier with experience.
- Networking isn ’t a one-time exercise to find a job—it ’s an everyday partof your career and you ’re building up capital for situational use.
- The world and this industry are very, very small — for better or for worse.
The Best Networkers:
- Use relationships from work/work meetings as a jumping off point.
- Set clear context/purpose for why they want to meet when they reach out.
- Find commonality if it exists: same college, hometown, former employer, organization, etc…
- Do their homework on the person/the business & come prepared with questions.
- Are prepared to talk about themselves: their goals, their job, their NIKE experience.
- Follow up with thanks and follow through on any agreed-upon next steps.
- Stay connected & find ways to return the favor.
- Understand networking is a two-way street, not a one-way favor.
- Understand that there is incredible power in asking great questions.
- Understand networking isn’t just about finding a job, it’s about learning and building long-term relationships.
- The common denominators (respect, humility, motivation).
Networking Going Horribly Awry
- The Cut and Paste – Don’t create an email template that you would just send out to a group of people, it just wont sound personalized and people will know that, and definitely won’t appreciate it. Some emails are addressed to the right person then in the body the name changes. Therefore, be more precise and accurate with what you send out!
- The Zombie – When you meet someone make sure you don’t just stay quiet and make them do all the taking, it needs to be a 2 way dialogue.
- The Cowboy – Be modest and humble, don’t speak of yourself as if your the next great thing. Ben gave a great example of someone he interviewed for a position who talked about himself in 3rd person.
- The Carpet Bomber – Don’t mass email everyone, won’t look good and people won’t take you seriously when 2 colleagues sitting next to each other get the same email at the same time, it just won’t seem that you really care about who you’re reaching out to.
- Entitled Flaky Guy – Be respectful and on time.
- Bitter, Aggressive, and/or Borderline Violent I’m Calling Security Guy – Make a good impression, keep your enthusiasm and energy.
- The Stalker (aka the Stage 5 Clinger) – Don’t email over and over!
The Punchline – Fundamentally, we are drawn to want to work with and do things for people we like.
Networking as an Intern
- You more or less have an open door as an Intern.
- If you haven ’t already, find & meet with alumni of your college and/or your former employer—they have a built-in, heightened interest in connecting!
- Cross-functional meetings: make sure you’re noting who might be good to follow up with individually to learn what they do and build rapport.
- Spend time 1:1 with your teammates and ask who else they recommend meeting with.
- Spend time 1:1 with fellow interns—they have an inside look at other NIKE businesses and another set of leaders.
- VP’s are exciting, but Directors and Managers are the ones with the jobs.
That’s it for this week!