Shepa Learning Company Blog

Find More Time To Network

March 7th, 2017 by
Shepa Not Sherpa

Shepa Not Sherpa

You can find more time to network if you think “shepa“. Shepa is the Tibetan word for consciousness or awareness and the name of our company—Shepa Learning Company. We are a training and speaking company that’s all about raising people’s awareness of networking opportunities around us every day! After more than a decade of teaching people about networking and surveying our audiences for their networking challenges we know that a great many people think they don’t have the time to network. They do.

No extra hours in the day required

Ask people what networking is and their answer will include the words reception, conference, awkward schmoozing and one more thing to do at the end of my busy day. Our definition is different. Networking is not just about going to events.  Networking is an attitude. If there are two people standing (or sitting) next to one and other it’s an opportunity to connect. So, going forward think about how you can take advantage of those opportunities around you all the time and look up from your phone, step out of your comfort zone, get up from your desk and talk to people. This kind of networking doesn’t take any more time, and here’s how it works:

  1. You are in the office elevator anyway…
  • Talk to the person in the elevator instead of looking up at the digital floor read out or engaging with your mobile device. Introduce yourself by name if it’s another person from your company, even someone more senior. The time it takes to ride that elevator will go by whether you scan your Instagram account or talk to the person next to you. The latter is a more powerful form of networking.
  1. You have to eat lunch…
  • 62% of professionals typically eat lunch at their desk every day. Stop dining “al desko”. (We love this term, coined by Kate Bratskeir.) If there’s a lunch room at your work why not join your colleagues? Leave your phone in your pocket or purse, no matter how tempting.
  • Put networking-with-other-humans in your calendar as a recurring event. Pick a day and once a week get out of the office at lunch or coffee. Book these networking coffees or lunches or drinks with people in advance so you are less likely to jam out with the “too busy” excuse. During the nicest months of the year get out more than once a week. You deserve it.
  1. You walk down the hall…
  • Use the 10/5 Way. Ten feet away from another person, smile. Five feet away, say something! Time is ticking as you walk down the hall so use it as an opportunity to engage and make a human connection.
  • If you work in a large company learn people’s names and use when saying hi. People like that; they are flattered you know their name.
  1. Your company puts on events…
  • Show up at company events, someone has worked hard putting it together. Don’t be too cool to engage in the silly things that sometimes happen. If you are in a leadership role, this is even more important to not be seen as too aloof to have fun. If it’s a costume thing, wear one.
  • Put company get-togethers on your calendar and tell your kids, family, or friends that you are staying late on that day. Don’t be the person who has to go home “to make dinner for the kids”. That’s what takeout is for…
  1. You go out with your friends…
  • Share your friends. If you are going out with a couple of friends who you see regularly, invite a few new people to join you for drinks or dinner. You are spending that time out, so diversify your own network and your friends’ networks.
  • Discover what you can do for your friends and colleagues. Have a little voice in your head operating at all times (that’s shepa at work) thinking about what you could do for others.  It could mean sending an article, making a connection for them, or acknowledging good work they did. Many of us may think about doing these things, but then think it will take too long and it won’t make a difference.  It won’t take too long and it will make a difference.

-Written by Gayle Hallgren-Rezac, Judy Thomson and Darcy Rezac, business networking speakers and authors of Work The Pond! Use The Power of Positive Networking to Leap Forward in Work and Life (Penguin/Prentice Hall)  Shepa Learning Company

DO YOU GET OUR FREE NETWORKING TIPS EVERY WEEK?  If you have not yet signed up for our free weekly Positive Networking® Tips+, you can do so here.  They are under 200 words–always.

Image: iStock.com/panutc
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