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    The Daily Grind

    Effective Networking

    Networking is by far the best source of opportunities for executives in transition. Almost everything we do is an opportunity to Network whether it is participating in a formal reception, meeting the parents of our children’s classmates or going to the local Home Depot. It’s all about building relationships that are important during transition and valuable even when we are not looking for an opportunity. Always be networking!

    Summary:

    • In talking to Private Equity firms, while you may be contacting them with the possibility of finding a new business, they also know where there are needs to support existing businesses in their portfolio. For example, there may be consulting opportunities.
    • You can always get into the door of PE firms if you have an investment thesis. Once in, while your idea may not be what they are looking for, you can talk about other prospects.
    • Go to the annual meeting of a target company and you’ll meet people directly involved in that business and investors involved in other businesses too.
    • Think of networking as building relationships
    • Track your network. Keep a spreadsheet that includes names, contact info, record of conversations and who they suggest that you contact.
    • Check out Salesforce.com and JibberJobber.com as tools to help track your networking
    • When you connect with someone that is referred to you, send a thank you note to the person who made the suggestion.
    • LinkedIn is a powerful tool;

     

    1. Source of networking contacts
    2. Source of who is working that you may know within a target company or industry
    3. Sources of people who can introduce you to others

     

    • “Feed” your network. Send articles and other information.
    • Your college or business alumni are great sources of networking contacts
    • Your network is most likely curious as to what you are up to and what the focus of your search might be. Let them know. Keep them up-to-date so they are not making assumptions.
    • Suppliers to the industry you worked for or are looking at may know of openings and needs in your core search areas. (e.g. agencies can help with marketing opportunities, bankers for treasury, etc.)
    • “Warm” introductions are powerful. This is where someone you know introduces you or hands over you resume to someone they know.
    • The person you know will pass on your resume or give you names to contact because of your relationship with them. That next person will meet or talk to you due to the respect they have for that first person. If they pass on your resume or introduce you to someone else, it’s because of what you have to offer. That next person in the chain is talking to you because they are interested. Higher levels of connection to true opportunities happen at that second, third and fourth degree of separation.
    • Respect the admin assistants that come between you and the person you want to talk to. They are powerful gatekeepers. Always treat them with respect, friendliness and professionalism that they deserve and then hopefully they will make sure the meeting with their boss happens. Know the assistant’s name and keep a record with the main target’s contact information.
    • When you get back from a meeting or event where you have business cards, make sure you connect with the individuals on LinkedIn and call or e-mail those people that you feel could be good connections or connectors. Write down a few notes on their card to help you remember why you think you should get in touch with them.
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