First of all, thanks to the hayspost.com team for providing me the opportunity to share my thoughts with all of you. For those of you who don’t know me, I have served as the Chamber’s Executive Director for a little over a year now, but I’ve been a blogger for even longer. I invite you to learn more about me (and my random thinking!) by visiting my personal blog at www.tammywellbrock.com.
For several semesters, I’ve been fortunate to teach one class at FHSU – Marketing Principles 301. During this past Thursday class period, I shared my standard “Networking” presentation with the students: this presentation as well as the class in general is an excellent opportunity to teach students how to apply basic marketing principles in their own job search process. The concept of marketing yourself as a product is a unique concept to many, and not just college-aged young people. There are many ways to promote yourself, including creating a quality resume and well-written cover letter. Networking is just another tool.
So I pose these questions for you to consider: how often do you network with others? When was the last time you invited a peer, a business professional or someone you admire, simply for the sake of getting to know each other? Where you met for a lunch that had no other agenda, except a genuine interest in your guest? When was the last time you attended a network-focused event, perhaps a Chamber Chat or Ribbon Cutting? At this event, did you stretch yourself and visit with others, or did you stand next to your coworker (who, by the way, is someone you can visit with anytime you want)?
We all know networking is important for us professionally and personally. However, doing so takes us out of our comfort zones, possibly making us feel less confident, awkward or capable. Author and motivational speaker Jeffrey Gitomer has a great philosophy when it comes to networking – he call is the 50-Butt Rule. To summarize him: if there are 50 butts or more in one room, then your butt should one of them! My recommendation is to give yourself a professional “audit” – if you aren’t marketing (or networking) yourself now, you may regret it later.