Where To Find Your Best Network
Networking, as I've already said, is 360. The old model had all of us in a powerless position 'cause we needed to, I'm going to say, network up the food chain. Our desires, our ambition, our career paths, and who can help us doesn't follow that path anymore. It's anywhere and everyone. The beauty of platforms such as LinkedIn is it reveals the complexity of everything that is behind us. I'm not standing here; all of us, I'm looking at my studio audience, all of us are now connected, but you're not just connected with me. There's a whole wacky mess of crazy people that I'm, you know, this is like your worst nightmare for a family reunion; I got a whole bunch of stuff back here, right? All of us do, and one of the things that I find that people still cling to, other than clinging to the notion that networking is cocktail parties and strangers and powerlessness is we cling to the notion of who can help us. It's that gray-haired, old, white dude with the three-piece suit in the fancy offic...
e, not, right? We put people, as I like to say, in the "just" category. Just my hairdresser, just my parents, just my...and I'm going to give you some examples to really like hammer that home. All of us, when people say to me they don't have a network, so I always like want to call BS on that one. All of us have a network; how do you value it? Eric asked, "Who should you talk to about what your, you know, personal versus professional? Let it all hang out with everybody just as far as I'm concerned. Now, there might be some limitations on that. There may some things you don't want to share with certain people, but there's a whole lot that I think we hide because we think oh, it's just my... So the "just"; I worked in a law firm. One of my marketing colleagues, she was just the database girl. She was the one who cleaned up the invitation list and sent newsletters, right? I'm speaking in the language of the higher up. She was just the database girl, "just the database girl"? Spoke the her favorite cousin everyday, he just happened to be the CEO of a Fortune, well I'll leave it at 100. It's probably a Fortune 25 company. Just the sort of person a big law firm would want as a client, just the sort of person that if he asked his favorite cousin, how's your day going, and she described her place of work in glowing terms, might actually want to hear from that law firm. Another woman I know, who reentered the workforce after having children; she's a lawyer. Reentered the workforce and there she is in suburban New Jersey, gardening on a Saturday, talking to her neighbor. And the neighbor is like how's the new job going? You got back to work, how's, you know, you figuring out the kids, and you know, like tell me about what's going on, and she started to talk about her job. She started talking about her colleagues, the type of things she was working on. You can see how I'm, you know, she was excited about what she was doing. She's, you know, pruning roses or weeding, sitting down there talking to the neighbor, and how did the neighbor respond? He responded with wow, you're really enjoying what you're doing; that's terrific. He happened to be a pharmaceutical executive, and he looked at her and he said, we've been neighbors a long time. I want to help you out 'cause you know, good things a friend should do, and it sounds to me like you really like these people you work with, and you like the work you're doing so I might have something, you know what? I'm going to send it to you, probably not going to lead to anything, but you know, at least you can show that hey, you know, 'cause it's important. You know, anyone, whether you're a lawyer or in any business, it's important to show that you can make these relationships and bring in the rain, right, bring in the business. So he said to her, not going to go anywhere, but let me toss you something so that you can show these partners, and you know, show them that you're enthusiastic and all the rest of it. It was the silicone breast implant. I can't even tell the story without laughing. The silicone breast implant litigation. It's not going to go anywhere. It was the largest, ultimately, the largest class action in history, at that time, but he didn't give it to her saying, I'm going to send you the largest class action in history. No, he said, you like what you do, and I know you, and I want to see you be successful. What happens if she just said to her neighbor, oh, works fine, how are the kids? You know, I like, you know, hey blah, whatever. Instead, she was enthusiastic and effervescent and excited about what she was doing. Another friend of mine, his linchpin contact that led to the introduction that led to the introduction that led to, you know, knowledge of the secret handshake to get into that club that everyone kinda goes, how the heck did you get into that? The linchpin introduction was his personal trainer. People kind of do this, think about it. Who are your service providers? Who are you paying good money to, you know, clean your house or walk your dog or work your butt off, right? They're probably other people like you, and they may have need for what you do, and how are they ever going to figure that out? That linchpin may be the personal trainer or the nanny, the guy at the dry cleaners, I don't know. And maybe that's why I say, you know, be decent and kind and show up every day, but also too, think about some of these relationships where you're thinking, oh I haven't talked to them about that; they're just the... My own story, "just" the intern, my intern from five years ago, when I had the startup accelerator, she called me last year, and said, hi Kelly. We stayed in touch, social media, knew about her wedding, have tea when she was in New York, she was making a career change. She'd ping me to see what I thought. So she said, hey Kelly, listen with your book, would you be interested in coming and speaking at Google headquarters 'cause I can make it work. The intern, right? When you think about when things may result in something, why you should stay in touch with people, why you keep them engaged, why you tell them what you're doing, not just the hey, you were my intern that summer and remember these three people you met when we were all sharing the offices with Lay Vo, and no, it's what's going on in their life and finding other ways of helping, and also sharing with them, with what you're doing. You never know where that opportunity is going to help spring up, and that's where, I'm saying, like alright, you've got networks. You've got all sorts of people, and all these people have relationships and people and things behind them just because they're doing "that job", the personal trainer, the hairdresser, the whatever doesn't mean they don't have, the database girl, doesn't mean they don't have all sorts of other contacts and reasons to make a call that will help you doing what you're doing. So think about that; I'm also going to pause here and say, when I said before, in terms of what you share whether it's in person or online, I think there's things in life we just, you know what, we all have our own kind of barometer of what we want to share and the context of where and how we wanna share it, and during my book tour last year, I had the great fortune of doing a lot of events with one of the firms I'm alumni of, and that's Sidley, and they were extraordinarily kind and had me in all sorts of offices and promoting this alum of the firm and my book. In the event at New York, I looked at one of the partners and I said, alright, I'm going to make a confession (laughs) from when I worked at the firm, there was, I'm going to tell a story that none of you know. So when I think about sharing things and who we choose to share them with. When I was still practicing law, and you think about the way you work in a close office, and how everyone knows everything that's going on. I came back after a week off, at my, this was in 1991, no, sorry, 2001, and my secretary, Janette, looked at me and she knew I'd had a week off, obviously, and she knew that my brother had been in town during that week and he was there with his wife and their first child and she said, how was your week off with your brother? And I said, it was terrific Janette, and I got married. Janette is from Long Island, so you gotta really thick Long Island accent, and a lot of words I'm probably not allowed to say during this class. I got an ear full; my attitude was it was no one's business. So when I say, who you're sharing things with, right, there maybe things you don't want to share with people, don't exclude sharing things with people because you're like oh, it's just the doorman, right? Don't exclude it because of your perceptions of their value and their ability to contribute. They may just provide you with a sympathetic shoulder or a, listen, the way my doorman in New York cheered me on when I come in at odd hours, you know, dragging a suitcase or leaving at odd hours dragging a suitcase makes all the difference. Their excitement when I showed them the book that was being published made all the difference. Has it resulted in any kind of, I don't know, a book sale or a speaking gig? Probably not, but God, it makes my life better that they know what I'm doing, and they can empathize with me. So don't discount people because of who they are and what their role, their title, their position, but there may be things that you personally it's no one's business, and I don't care who it is, you know, that's in the vault. So on this, and this really gets to, and Eric's like oh god, I'm not, and everyone else in line is like I'm not asking a question 'cause if you ask one, she flogs it, and she mentions your name 16 times, and I'm just like so mortified and embarrassed. This worksheet, in this part of this class, was one I really did get really excited about because it is this, and it's where people have such aha moments that these little, micro networking actions, and these people who you already have constant contact with, might just be the key. They might just be the key to unlocking what it is you want to achieve.