|Before I get into networking…How to improve your clarity.
One of the most important things a leader can do is to communicate with clarity!
One exercise to increase clarity is to tweet 3-4 times a week. Twitter is what I use to sharpen my thoughts and gain clarity. The constraint of 140+ (I sometimes use a thread) characters helps me to be crystal clear, succinct, and to the point, which helps me when I communicate with coaches and AD’s.
Here is an example:
———————Now on to networking———————-
Networking gets a bad rap because it can often be done in a weird, awkward, or manipulative way.
We often start networking because we need a job or want a certain job that becomes available. So we try to reach out and connect hoping to build a relationship in 10 days…and then hope that they hire you or recommend you for a certain job.
6 rules to networking:
Rule 1- Don’t try to impress. When talking to another coach/AD don’t try to share all that you know and all that you have done. Most people won’t be impressed.
Rule 2- Be curious. Be interested in people, be curious, ask thoughtful questions. This adds value to the other person. If you get 5 minutes with someone, ask 5 minutes’ worth of inquisitive questions!
Rule 3- Follow up. Again, don’t send an email telling them what you have accomplished since you last met. Rather, follow up with something you took away from their conversation, follow up with a quick check-in on something they shared (“How did your son’s first semester at college go?”), and be genuinely curious.
Rule 4- Keep in touch. This ties into rule 3…keep in touch in a non-stalker type way. Simply shoot them an email when their team wins a big game, when you are simply thinking of them, or when you genuinely need advice. If you do it every week, that’s weird. If you do it every three to four months…perfect.
Rule 5- Don’t be a big-timer. If you do steps 1-4 only when you engage with power five coaches or AD’s, people notice. Build a network with anyone you come across that you enjoy visiting with. *Side note: I have started working with AD’s over the last 2 years. My initial network included a Division III AD, a Division II AD, and a Deputy AD who have helped open doors for me in big ways. All studs but none at the ‘top of the food chain’.
And the most important rule…
Rule 6- Be authentic. Rules 1-5 have to be authentic. Don’t just be ‘curious’ to check a box. Don’t just ‘check in’ to check a box. People sniff out inauthenticity.
Play the long game when building a network.