We all know that great leaders have great networks. Most of us realize that we should be networking more. But so often we don't. In this Linkedin live you will learn what the key components are to creating an amazing network and what you have been missing in previous attempts at networking. This will allow you to stop wasting time engaging in networking that doesn't result in deep connections and instead foster connections that will be resilient and meaningful.
Olesya is a Harvard-educated Leadership and High-Performance Coach. Her work lies in helping people achieve their full potential and utilizing psychological science to achieve their goals. Her areas of focus are optimal performance, motivation, neuropsychology, and stress optimization. Her clients are from Microsoft, Amazon, Accenture, as well as entrepreneurs and start-up founders. She was previously Head of Marketing at the Institute of Coaching, Harvard Medical School, and continues to serve as an advisor to Seattle area start-ups.
https://www.olesyaluraschi.com/ & https://www.olesyaluraschi.com/mastermind/
Find us here: www.agileleanireland.org
this is your quick training on how to strengthen your network in 2023, I'm going to try to cover as much as I can in the next 30 minutes to really make this valuable for you all, I know that these days, we are very busy. And I appreciate that I have 30 minutes of your time. All right, so let me introduce myself, in case you don't know me, my name is Alyssa. I'm a leadership and high performance coach to the tech industry. I have a psychology degree from Harvard, and an undergraduate degree in communication, and pursuing a PhD in psychology as well. And I'm really excited to talk to you all about networking. For some of you, you might be excited about networking. And for some of you, you might dread networking, but know that you need to do it in order to meet your goals and advancing your career. So what I want for you at the end of this training is to come away and actually be excited about networking, and be thinking really positive thoughts about it. I actually really dislike the word networking, because every time I hear it makes me think of like some Machiavellian person trying to like use other people to advance their own career. And honestly, I hate that. And I think that really puts up lock on a lot of people and pursuing networking, and that they think that is this kind of like almost sleazy thing. So let's make sure to dispel that myth, really address some of our beliefs about networking first, because I think core beliefs really drive a lot of our behaviour. And some of these core beliefs might not even be something that you like, kind of feel it at the surface, they might be so deep, that you don't even realise that you're thinking this. Okay. So first of all, I have met with over 300 leaders in tech it just this past year, like I've worked with a lot of you. And what I've noticed is that a lot of you know, you should be networking, but you're not. And you're very hesitant to start. And a lot of it is kind of the ambiguity that this whole like networking thing is and also kind of a bit of a fear of a rejection. So we're going to address both of those. Like I said before, a lot of people when they think networking is that it's something that like, is a little bit sleazy, maybe it's something like we're using people as a means to an end. And it doesn't really have to be that way. And I'm going to explain how to think about networking, and how to do it in a way that's genuine, and a way that's helping others and in a way that's in line with your values. Because the most interesting thing about networking is that the people that really should be networking are oftentimes the people that aren't, and the reason that they aren't networking is because they think networking is kind of this Machiavellian thing. Let's talk about mindset when it comes to networking. So when I say networking, what kind of thoughts come into your mind? And for some of you, they might be neutral. But for some of you, it might be some of the things I just said. And for a lot of you I think the general thought or like, feeling might be something just like, like something I have to do kind of like going to the dentist, like none of us actually like it? Or maybe I mean, a few of us do, but like the majority of people don't. And, yeah, I mean, you might also be thinking, I don't really have time for that, like I have a full time job, I have a family, I'm trying to maintain some modicum of health and wellness. Like if I added networking it on top of that, it would just be too much like Who has time for that, like, I get invited to these networking events. And like they're like, you know, at like 6:30pm in Seattle downtown, like, I will not be driving to that. No, thank you. And this is an actual true example from my own life. I feel the same way. And so I think a lot of us feel kind of almost overwhelmed by networking. And this is why like, I think it's so important to create rules for ourselves when it comes to networking, so that we don't set ourselves up for failure. Because many of you might feel the same way I do that, like if I'm going to drive like all the way to downtown Seattle on a Thursday at like 6:30pm like this has this you know this has have it has to be somewhat beneficial. And a lot of times we do that and it doesn't really kind of provide that much value we show up to these events, like sometimes people like are quite shallow at these events. Sounds like you don't really get into deep conversations. And then at the end of the night, you're kind of just tired. And you don't really want to repeat that experience. And for this reason, I want you to all consider that it would be really helpful to follow two rules. And these are my two rules for networking, that if you follow them this year, I think you're actually going to get engaged in more helpful networking. And you're going to actually enjoy it. So you're not going to go to one networking event, and just like completely burn out. And so the first rule is that networking should be fun. And I know that that sounds like a paradox. But consider this. So networking is actually like a huge thing. It isn't just going to happy hour or your alumni event from your university or something like that. Networking can be done in so many different ways. And there's always a way that can fit well to your personality. So like even if you're an introvert, one way that you could engage in networking is writing articles and posting them on LinkedIn, or being active on Twitter and kind of sharing your experiences and sharing interesting things you've read, it doesn't necessarily have to be face to face, especially these days. And it doesn't have to be like these marathons of interaction that sometimes feel exhausting to individuals who aren't highly extroverted. And so that's the first rule is like, I want you to ask, actually ask yourself, and most of you have not asked yourself this question is, if networking were fun, what would that look like? And so like consider what are some times that you've met cool people, which is essentially what networking is networking is just meeting cool people and connecting with them. That's at least that's what it should be. So consider when was the last time I met some cool people, or maybe they reached out to me, maybe I reached out to them. When was the last time I met cool people and enjoyed it. And if you can think of a moment that that has happened, that was networking, it doesn't have to be like what we see in the movies, it doesn't have to be like kind of the old school traditional networking that you might be thinking of, it can be something as simple as I was at a concert, and I met someone that was in my industry, and they were really interesting. Anything like that is still networking, because networking is actually really what it all is all about is just connection. And I think oftentimes, all of these business books HBr articles, make it a little bit too complicated than it needs to be. And it makes sense, because like overcomplicating something often sells books, right? But really what networking is, is just creating connections with other human beings. And because of that connection, those human beings would be more willing to help you. And the reason for this is not because, you know, we're you know, like super ingroup oriented, necessarily, but it's just the human brain that can't handle that much information. And one way that it sorts it is to consider those people who we have relationships with, it's a bias that the brain has. And maybe it's not a perfect one, obviously it isn't. But it's just kind of how we work. And so until this is kind of overcome by some kind of technology, or I don't know what this is how we work. So if you consider that networking is simply creating human connection, this makes it a little bit more simple, right? It doesn't mean that you have to engage in any type of weird frameworks of speaking, it doesn't mean that you have to attend these like boring events, it just means that you have to look out for creating normal human connection. And this brings me to the second rule. If you missed the first rule, it's that networking should be fun. So you need to find ways in which you actually find it fun in order for it to be sustainable, so that you can actually get the results that you need from networking. And that brings me to the second rule is that people should never be used as a means to an end. And I think this is why networking gets such a bad rap is that a lot of times people think that other individuals are using networking as a way to create an outcome based on the people they meet for themselves in a selfish way. And if you approach networking in this way, I actually don't think it would be that effective, because humans are not that dumb. Like they can actually sense when somebody else wants to manipulate them or just to use them or kind of just get something from them. So I really think that we need to approach networking in a more humane approach. And that means to never consider that an other human is a means to an end pure philosophy scholar, you probably my remember that this is actually constant golden rule is that humans should never be used as a means to an end. And I actually think if you approach networking this way, if you don't consider like humans as a way to like, move up the ladder or something like that, then or like, as a way to get something for yourself, I think you would actually be so much more successful. And I know that sometimes like opening yourself up to that type of ambiguity and the serendipity and like, just the randomness that you know, as humans are, feels kind of like maybe inefficient. But I think this is really the only approach that works is to connect with people you think, are doing cool things that you think are people to be respected. And truly, truly just offer value, and provide a connection to them to another person yourself, right. And so those are my two rules for networking. If you follow these two rules, I think you really can't go wrong. Like there's very little that can go wrong here. And it will create a more sustainable approach for you. Okay. And so, I want to just cover like a few tips as well, when it comes to networking, so that you can kind of have some actionable things you can do to start your year. I know that lately, we've, you know, had a hard time in the tech industry. If you're in the tech industry, you know that everyone's a little bit more stressed. And it's an you know, it's not a great time, and I've seen it firsthand in myself, and then my clients, and people are struggling. And so I actually think that right now networking is more important than ever, because not only does it provide your career resilience, but it also offers the support to those individuals who are struggling, because one of the ways that we can overcome struggle and overcome stressful environments, is to band together and offer support to one another. So hopefully, like, I feel like this is these types of struggles will like bring the tech industry together more, instead of dividing it. If you're kind of considering like maybe I shouldn't start networking until things die down, I actually think it's important to reach out to other humans and offer them support and you know, kind of create that connection because the human connection actually protects us from these stressors. Okay, so just a little caveat there. Okay, so let's start with some like really practical tips to just help you approach your networking strategy this coming year. And again, I know I'm using the words networking, and I'm using the word strategy. But remember, we're just connecting with cool people, like other humans doing cool things, and you know, creating that connection. Okay, I know for a lot of you, networking feels very like a heavy lift, like it's just a lot to do and you don't know where to start. And who knows, if you're going to do it well, or you're going to do it right. Or if it's, it's just going to be kind of a waste of time, maybe. So what I want you to do is to actually just start with three people think of two people like just to cool people within your industry that you respect, admire, or even just want to know better. And then actually think of one other person that's outside of your industry that you respect, admire, or just want to know better. Just maybe start following these people on social if you aren't yet, maybe send them a message, telling them that you think they're interesting, or that something they wrote is interesting, consider inviting them to coffee or lunch, and just slowly grow that relationship over time like you would with a any normal person, right? Because remember, this is a relationship. And if you just focus on three people this year, and kind of growing the quality of those relationships, you would have much more payoff and not then just kind of getting overwhelmed by trying to connect to like 200 people at once, and not really offering a lot of value. Okay, so work on that. And remember, it's like it's a long game relationships are built over time over many points of connection. And it's not something that necessarily happens overnight. So one other tip that I think is important is that a lot of times when people think of networking, they think like I'm just going to talk about my job like or what I do, but actually we know from psychology that people actually connect most on the things that they're interested in. So it's actually really beneficial to find points of connection with another person out sight of work. So maybe you're talking to someone that does rock climbing, and you do rock climbing as well. Or maybe you both have the same amount of kids, etc. Like, you can actually even kind of, if you know information about this person from their social media, something that they've posted online, then you can actually put that into the conversation to kind of speed this up this kind of connection point. It's something that Robert Cialdini talks about, he's a very famous psychologist on persuasion, he actually wrote the book persuasion, as some of you might know about it, this type of self disclosure is actually crucial. It's critical and building connection. And this is the thing that I think is if like, you took away one thing from this training, this, this next thing is the what you need to take away. And it's the thing I think that's most glossed over, and the whole debate and discourse about networking, and like the kind of advice that people give and etc, etc, is that we actually know human connection cannot occur without vulnerability. Like, it would be paradoxical, like there is no connection if individuals are not vulnerable with each other. And what vulnerability essentially is, in this context, is that it's self disclosure, essentially, me telling you things about myself, that make me somewhat vulnerable. And then you are typically going to reciprocate, and you're going to tell me something about yourself that make you vulnerable. And now that you know that, you probably can kind of go back and think about in your head, all of the times you've been in networking events, or you've been attempting networking. And there's like a complete scarcity of vulnerability. Like, nobody is vulnerable, actually, everyone is kind of like on their best behaviour, and they're trying to put like, their best foot forward and acting like, you know, they're successful, and everything's going right for them, etc, etc. Networking is essentially like, if you choose, like, we're like on social media, but like in real life, you know, it's just the highlight reel. And so that's what I think that's the main reason why like networking events often don't work is because there is no framework to encourage vulnerability or self disclosure, in the way that it would create connection. And so oftentimes, people go to networking events, they have no real connection, and they kind of find it to be a waste of time. But it doesn't have to be this way, you can actually be different, you can be the person that engages in self disclosure, and allows for true connection to form. But remember, there's always the person that has to go first, right? So it's kind of scary to be the person that goes first. But typically, what we know from psychological science, is that humans were very reciprocal. So if I engage in a self disclosure, typically, you will have an urge to engage in a self disclosure back to me, and then we're kind of going to form a bond through that. And one thing that I would note here, though, is that it's important to kind of build slowly, it's important to not like, kind of do the whole, like therapist session thing where you just, like disclosed, everything. self disclosure can be kind of like, you know, little by little, so think of it almost like a breadcrumb trail, right? Like, you're going to, you know, disclose something personal about yourself, but just like a small anecdote, like maybe you have a baby that's not sleeping at night. And it's really rough, you know, you're not going to be the person that goes around like gaslighting other parents that like and says, like, Oh, my baby sleeps great. Like, you know, motherhood or fatherhood is wonderful. And, you know, just a disclosing, that can make someone really trust you. Because, you know, I might be somebody who had that experience as well, which I actually am. Most of my kids not sleep that well. And so like, if you told that to me, I would instantly like you more, I'd be like, Oh my gosh, this person gets it. Like, they're just like me, they had babies that didn't sleep either. And like, now we're kind of bonded, and we're like, you know, like we've shared this difficult experience together. Okay, so I hope that that makes sense. So, okay, when we talk about the first rule that I shared with you guys, that networking should be fun. There's a few questions that I actually have that you can ask yourself, that can kind of help you filter out events to make sure that you're not going to things that are going to make you miserable, and then gonna make you like hate networking for the rest of the year. And so these questions are, is this the type of event I enjoy? So when you're considering going to something like consider, is this something I actually enjoy? Or am I like, you know, an extreme introvert and being in a crowd makes me like borderline have a panic attack. Because if that's the case, that that is not for you like It's not going to go well, you would be much better off finding some type of strategy that actually would work for you. So second question is, will there be people there I like or will enjoy meeting. So the simpler and like a lot of times we see like an event or something related to our industry, and we just are like, Oh, I should go to that. But like consider like is, are there actually going to be people you're interested in there? A lot of times, you can kind of take a look at the RSVP list and see if that's the case. Third question is, is the timing optimal for me. So if it's like a coffee chat, and you don't wake up till, like 10am, in the morning, usually, like, it's probably not going to be optimal timing. And if this is your strategy for the rest of the year, it's probably not going to be super sustainable. Some of these things are kind of like dove. But sometimes we don't consider that this should be a sustainable strategy that we can hold over time, and not just something that we can do, like, you know, the first month, or the first two months of the year. And yeah, it's just it's crucial to kind of really know yourself and be really honest with yourself instead of mimicking other people's behaviours. Because the way that other people do networking isn't the way that's going to work for you. So I think it's just really important to know what you like doing, because that's the only thing that's going to work for you. Another point I wanted to make is that networking isn't just like a thing you do. And it's done. It's actually a nurturing process, right. So like all the relationships in our lives, they start to kind of died off if we don't reengage them. So it's important to consider that there is going to be a massive amount of time that you have to spend each month to kind of keep connections up. And eventually this will feel like a natural process. But remember that connections will pass if they're not re engaged. So one easy way to maintain this without getting like super overwhelmed, is to consider just one person each week that you can reach out to and just check in on doesn't have to be like a big thing. But just you know, once a week, you've set it like a little to do to yourself to just check in on one person that you haven't checked in on for a while and see how they're doing, if there's anything that they that you can help us or maybe they'd like to get a coffee, etc. So another thing I want to offer you all is that this is something I see a lot of my clients not doing. But I want to, I want you to consider that it would be really helpful if you make it easy for people to keep up with you. And I know a lot of people are kind of anti social media, and that's fine. But consider that the point of social media is to make it easy for people who are interested in you to stay connected with you seamlessly. And if they aren't able to do this, it's harder for them to know what's going on with you. And it's harder for them to kind of keep up the conversation with you. And so I know, a lot of times the way we view social media is very much from our own viewpoint, like, you know, like I don't want people to judge me or I don't want people to like know what's going on with me. But it would be, it's worth considering viewing social media, from the viewpoint of other people, and how nice it is to be able to keep up with someone so seamlessly, right? Like kind of know what they're going go up to what they've been reading what they've been up to. And it allows you to do some of that kind of relationship maintenance without necessarily having to be so active, right? Because next time you see that person, you don't need to spend as much time informing them about what's been going on, because they've been able to kind of see that in the background. All right, see, we have like about five minutes. So I'm going to try to make the last two points very quickly. And so one last thing about networking is that one way to do be really effective and networking is to become a connector of people. So this is again, like a less self focused approach. But it can be a really comfortable approach for a lot of people, because it's less focused on yourself and more focused on helping other people make the connections that would help them because all of us know, people that like should be connected, right? Like if this person knew this person, then both of their lives would be easier. And so if you consider that your strategy for networking can be just to connect people, then that would be an effective strategy because those people will always kind of be grateful to you for connecting them and also your network network will grow because people will essentially think of you as the person that connects people and they'll kind of come to you to ask you like, Oh, do you know someone that knows XYZ? I wonder to just talk a little little bit more about to like why this has been on my mind. And this has been on my mind quite a bit in the last year and this current year. And it's been really very much like something that I've talked to a lot of you about. And it's something that you struggle with. And I do think that this issue with networking, this kind of lack of vulnerability is a problem to be solved. And it's something that I've been working on. So this year, I'm actually launching a mastermind group or like a group coaching mastermind group called tech leaders. And so one of the purposes of this group is to create that space, that actually creates real connection. So where people can be honest and vulnerable, and create those bonds that actually create a really strong network, we're going to launch this coming month. So next month, February. So if you're interested, I can post a link here in the chat. And or you can just email me, but it is a way that I'm using to essentially create that connection. So if you are interested in like a more efficient way of networking that actually creates real connection, I would encourage you to check out the mastermind, if you're the in the tech industry, it's going to be group coaching is going to be a mastermind, it's going to be like a leadership skills training programme as well. And I'm really excited because we're actually going to even have an in person event this year, in which we actually get to meet each other like in person, which is really exciting for someone that typically works with her clients online. And I actually think it will be one of the best ways to build your network. This coming year. Yeah. Okay, so how is networking different on LinkedIn and other social media networks? I think networking is different on LinkedIn, because it allows you to kind of have your professional foot forward. So essentially, on LinkedIn, you're not just kind of your interests, your hobbies, your your profession. So it's a very seamless way to integrate networking, because you have your profile where you have your company and like your job title there. And LinkedIn, I think, is perhaps the most optimal place to network because everyone's expecting it. Like it's not, you know, like strange or uncomfortable. Everyone kind of expects you to be networking based on your career. And so if you're not using LinkedIn, for networking, if you're not posting or following people that you think are interesting, or even messaging, people you think are interesting, I would really encourage you to do so this coming year. I know that a lot of you will have resistance to it. Like you'll be like, Oh, no, like other people can do that. But not me, I would encourage you to ask yourself like, why? Because a lot of us don't engage in these types of things, because we have a fear of rejection, or a fear of looking foolish, etc, etc. And so I want you to consider focusing more on the other person than yourself. So consider like, what if this person like actually would really benefit from a connection with you? Like, what if, you know, they like taking coffee chats, like, I just I would present kind of your connection request as a way to showcase value to them. And make sure that you're not withholding yourself from networking because of fear of rejection, because the only way to get over that fear is to actually do it. Because the the more you avoid doing something, the more you're teaching your brain that you should be avoiding it like you're essentially teaching your brain that this is dangerous. So I encourage all of you to kind of take the plunge and do something that scares you connect with someone that you think might never respond and kind of use that as a growth edge for this coming year. Okay. If anybody has other questions, please message me on LinkedIn or on my website. I hope I see some of you and then you mastermind, that would be amazing. Take care