Network Your Way to Success

In the public policy arena it’s critically important to expand and strengthen your network of professional acquaintances to be successful. The Institute of Humane Studies’ Career Guide includes a chapter on networking written by Nigel Ashford. You’ll find the advice helpful, whether you’re looking for a job, trying to get published, or just trying to learn more about your area of specialty. Here are key concepts from the guide:

● Dispersed knowledge: We can’t know everything, but we can develop a network of people who collectively know quite a bit.
● Weak business ties can be strong: 80 percent of job seekers landed a position with help from an acquaintance who didn’t know them too well.
● Reciprocity: Make sure to help others and steer clear of those who seem to be just takers.
● Fill holes: Connect acquaintances who you think should know each other but don’t.
● Articulate commonalities: When meeting new contacts be sure to offer information about yourself that might allow you to find things in common.
● Connectors, mavens, and salesmen: Demonstrate all three skills: bring people together, collect knowledge, and sell yourself and your ideas.

At events you should:

● place your nametag on your right side to it’s easy to read when you shake hands;
● have a 30 second “elevator speech” about yourself ready to give to a stranger;
● ask an intelligent question at the event and state your name before asking it;
● exchange business cards often and follow up with an e-mail to your new contact to cement the new connection;
● lavish praise on others and listen to them talk about their work/accomplishments without interrupting;
● use their first name when they first tell it to you by responding, “Hi [Name], I’m [Name], it’s very nice to meet you.”