Networking — Parties & A Passive Job Search
As an athlete, you’ll be invited to a lot of different events where you’ll be introduced to a lot of different people. Sounds like fun, right? But it can be overwhelming trying to remember all those names. And, trust me — they’ll remember yours. One way to retain names with faces is to try asking some questions. I like to start with: “Tell me your life story in 5 minutes or less.” You’ll find pretty much everyone has a story to tell, and you might be surprised by what you learn. There could be a successful businessperson in your midst who followed an unconventional path to get where they are. Or you may discover you have friends in common or maybe a similar life experience. Brief but meaningful conversations will help you keep track of who’s who and add to your growing network.
That being said, every time you step into a room full of people, don’t feel like you have to meet everyone in it. Networking may seem like it’s more about quantity than quality, but it isn’t so. Investing some time into a single conversation and creating a connection with just one person is more valuable than ten casual conversations. In fact, why not do a little homework? If you know who will be in the room, find out as much as you can about them before you arrive. People always appreciate — and almost always remember — when you mention something relevant to their world. Ask for a business card and don’t hesitate to offer yours — it can be virtual or printed, but have some way of sharing your information.
Finally, after every event, be sure to send thank-you notes! I encourage you to mail handwritten cards using actual postage stamps. However, if you choose the email route, do it immediately. Don’t wait. Draft the email on the way home (unless you’re driving, of course) so you don’t forget key moments in your conversations. It’s perfectly fine to send thank-you emails the next day, after a little editing, but a quick turnaround usually prompts a quick follow-up, which is the goal. And, needless say, be sure to respond as soon as you hear from your new contact!