Networking Success: Always Be Networking

Welcome to the first part of a two-part blogpost on networking; this first one is in regards to our new Networking Motto “Always Be Networking” (ABN) and illustrates the meaning behind it using a recent example of networking success in a rather surprising situation.

The second post, due out later this week, expands on this first idea and will discuss a range of other powerful networking ideas that can be summed up with a helpful mnemonic. Stay tuned!

Part I: The Power of ABN in Action

The idea of “Always Be Networking” (ABN) came up in conversation with a friend a few weeks ago in response to me attending a college football-watching party and somehow discussing Google interview questions with several school alumni (at one point, I actually had most of our table trying to answer an infamous query instead of watching a close game!). Apparently, I have been living the “Always Be Networking” lifestyle without even knowing it.

In short, ABN refers to the idea that opportunities to meet people who may somehow impact your career (and vice-versa) can show up in almost any situation. In this case, I was at the party to cheer on my husband’s team and take a break from work; I was not there to discuss my services, client successes, recent site re-launch or anything else related to ReFresh Your Step; that said, it happened and I didn’t mind. Apparently, the ABN lifestyle can include nachos smothered in cheese.

I’ve had networking on my mind recently as I prepared last week for a presentation (more on that in the next post); in taking a break from work and presentation prep early last week, my husband and I sat and watched the second Presidential debate. I was expecting political repartee and the occasional misspoken word by at least one of the candidates. What I was not expecting, however, was to see flashing, pulsating lights floating above our patio. Without even thinking about it, I headed outside to explore and was surprised to see an actual (toy-sized) UFO actually buzzing about overhead. Sadly, little green men were not controlling it; rather, an engineer who hates his current sales job was using his iPhone to fly his early Christmas gift. How do I know all of this? I asked. Here’s a summary of that conversation:

 

Me: “That’s so cool–where did you get it?”

Job-Hating Engineer (JHE): “It’s from Sharper Image and an early Christmas gift from my parents. I’m an engineer and love this stuff.”

Me: “Ah, I’ve worked with engineers before. What exactly do you do?”

JHE: “What do you do that you’ve worked with engineers?”

Me: “I’m a career advisor and have written resumes for several types of engineers, including a few aeronautical engineers and a NASA guy. That’s a great field you’re in.”

JHE: “I REALLY need to talk to you–I hate my job. I love engineering but somehow got into sales and really want to get back to my original path. Do you have a card?”

 

Never mind the fact that I was the opposite of professional-looking in that moment; I spoke professionally, engaged him in conversation, produced a few cards and returned to my debate-watching, all within a matter of minutes. Other than missing the original “binders full of women” comment, seizing the opportunity to speak with someone (even about the most random of topics–flying UFOs outside my window) truly epitomizes the official ReFresh Your Step networking creed of “Always Be Networking” (ABN). Tune in for our next post as we actually go over our handy (and rather happy) mnemonic for networking success, as well as a few extra tips to help our more introverted followers.

Until then, ABN!