Yesterday’s post was a challenge to get out of your house and meet with people. I know how much of a challenge that can be. As I think back on all the excuses I’ve made (and heard) for not being able to network, I thought I should share so they can be debunked!
1. I don’t know anyone
Yes you do! You have ex-co-workers. Call them on the phone. Ask who they recommend you speak with.
2. I have run out of people to talk to
Then, sorry to say, you aren’t networking correctly. Either the people you’ve met with should have wanted to provide you with additional names of people they know OR you should have asked.
3. I don’t have money for coffee and gas
I am going to sound a bit like Suze Orman here, you need to add this into your budget. Seriously, set money aside for coffee, gas and one paid professional association networking group meeting. Take it from your entertainment/dining out budget. Oh, you’ve already reallocated those funds? What can you sell off? Have you considered collecting and returning cans and bottles, it adds up, really! Be smart in how and when you schedule your meetings. Perhaps you can schedule two meetings back to back to decrease driving around town.
4. I am too shy
This is a wonderful opportunity to develop your extroverted side. Uncomfortable. Yes, but this really isn’t an excuse. Learn and watch others who do it with ease. Ask them for help.
5. I don’t know what to talk about
You simply need to ask questions about the other person. Focus on learning about them and what they do. Here are some broad questions that might help.
6. People keep turning me down for informational interviews
First, don’t call them informational interviews! This is not an interview, it is a meeting. Interview reeks of “hire me, I am looking for a job”. Sure, it is just a matter of semantics, but if it looks and smells like a pig, it IS a pig. The other thing here is to re-write your script in what you are asking for in these meetings. There are very few people who will turn down an invitation for help. Is it your wording? Is it your delivery? Are you calling on the phone or emailing? Use the phone please! Ask a friend to critique your invitation.
7. It hasn’t worked for me in the past
How long did you try it for? Were you expecting immediate results- perhaps a job offer on the spot? This process takes time. Trust builds over time. That is why it is so important to continue these healthy networking practices even after you get a job. You never know when or where the next lead will come from. Don’t pre-judge people or opportunities to connect. Follow up on EVERY SINGLE ONE. You never know. This is perhaps where people get fed up and quit. It takes time and effort.
8. _____________________ (Insert your excuse here)
We all are challenged to step outside our comfort zone and do new things. It takes practice to perfect some of these new skills. Don’t get discouraged.
If you want, add your excuse/obstacle to the comments below and together, we can find a way to overcome it.