Networking is Negotiating for Your Nonclinical job

by: Robert F. Priddy.

Networking is a negotiation at it’s highest levels. You’re negotiating to establish your awareness, your identity and your credibility in order to be considered deserving of further networking, and ultimately to score the nonclinical career you're wanting. 

Remember the currency of networking is more networking. Said another way, you network to meet both the immediate contact, but more importantly to meet people that contact will refer or introduce you to. The Managed Vertical Networking Paradigm™ is predicated on a target networking referral objective of three new people from each networking contact. You should expect to advance through eight to 10 Levels of Networking before you reach your actual “job level.”

Referring to the chart below, if you were 100% on-target with your networking, that is, each contact introduced you to three new people, by Level 10 you would have spoken with 19,683 individuals. That’s a bit unrealistic. However, if you were successful at a 50% or 60% rate, then by Level 10 you would have spoken with between 40 and 200 new networking contacts – a much more realistic expectation both in terms of actual introductions as well as in your own manageable time.

Regardless, you see the value, truly the exponential value – much like compound interest, of working to meet the objective of three networking referrals. Put most directly, the more people you speak with the faster you will complete your career transition.

Your first step in being successful in securing those referrals is to have a solid stump speech. We’ve talked at length about your stump speech, your networking – who I am, what I’ve done, what I want to do and how you can help me – pitch. Your 90 word, 30 second positioning statement.

Your second step is to elicit the other person’s stump speech. That is, who are they what do they do, what are their biggest challenges, how do they address them.

Looking at this as a dialogue, not just two independent orations, you can see an interplay whereby your objective is to listen 80% and talk 20%. Your listening objective is to learn where and how you may help this person or the people he/she may know.

That conversation may sound like this:

  • You: Hello, I’m Doctor Smith, I’m a practicing physician in Smithville. And, you?
  • Networking Contact: Nice to meet you Dr. Smith, I’m Jane Doe. I’m in charge of Corporate Social Responsibility for Acme Corporation.
  • You: Really Jane, that sounds quiet interesting. Tell me more about what you do.
  • Networking Contact: My responsibilities are focused on…
  • You: Interesting Jane, that sounds like a very challenging role?
  • Networking Contact: Yes, doctor, it certainly is.
  • You: Tell me Jane, what are you seeing as your biggest challenges? (assume you’re networking with people involved in your target career area. Therefore, her challenges should reflect your interests and expertise.)
  • Networking Contact: We are seeing this….
  • You: How are you addressing that?
  • Networking Contact: This way…
  • You: Are you seeing that as successful?
  • Networking Contact: Mostly, but…
  • You: What other methods are you considering?
  • Networking Contact: These…
  • You: And how are they working….?
  • Networking Contact: It’s hard to say. Sometimes well, sometimes not so well.
  • You: Hmmmm, have you considered (Your Expertise)?
  • Networking Contact: No, do you believe that might work?
  • You: Possibly. I’ve been involved in… (from your stump speech, What I wantto do), and I’m finding…(from your stump speech, How I can help you.)
  • You: Do you believe that could be helpful?
  • Networking Contact: Yes, I’d like to discuss that further…
  • You: Do you see this as a challenge isolated to you in your situation, or is it more industry-wide?
  • Networking Contact: It’s definitely not just me.
  • You: That is interesting… Who else are you seeing struggling with this?
  • Networking Contact: Yes, Sara over at XYZ Corp, I know is in the same boat I’m in…. etc…
  • You: Interesting, do you know Sara well? Could you introduce me to her?
  • Networking Contact: Yes, I do and I’d be happy to introduce you.
  • You: I certainly look forward to meeting Sara. And, is there anyone else?
  • Networking Contact: Let’s walk over and talk with her now.  And, yes, perhaps John at APEX.
  • You: That’s great, anyone else?
  • Networking Contact: No, I can’t think of anyone else.
  • You: Well thank you. I will call you Monday to discuss further. Let’s go over and talk with Sara.  And, I’ll follow up with John next week. I’ll keep you in the loop on those conversations as well.
  • Networking Contact: That’s great Dr. Smith. I look forward to discussing “this” further with you on Monday. Let’s go talk with Sara.

Study the flow of this conversation. Dr. Smith is carefully placing herself as an expert. She isn’t selling as much as negotiating… leading the Networking Contact into an evaluation or problems, a discussion of interventions and a resolution to try a new method. Said another way: an evaluation of symptoms, a discussion of treatment options and a final diagnosis and treatment decision.

When you sit down with a patient, your objective isn’t to issue them directives and ultimatums, but rather to lead them down a path that brings the two of you to a mutually agreed end point. But an end point of your choosing. It is negotiating. If they object, you step back and ask yourself why, what do I say next to bring them back on track… You do this every day, and you do it very well. Follow the same process in dealing with business networking and you’ll be equally successful, and you’ll feel equally in control of the situation and the outcomes.