How do you get the most out of your network when there are many vehicles available today to keep in touch with new and long time contacts. Social networking sites are proving obvious benefits to the individual as she expands networks and ability to share information quickly. But during a time of need, what communication tool do you think is most effective? I think it is the phone and I will prove it.
A job search brings the best out of many people. Family, friends and former colleagues want to help and do the best they can in keeping an eye out for you. Some even formulate a proactive campaign on your behalf. During a time of need, most people reach out to their network with an update – a blast email about being on the market. I get an email of this nature and/or LinkedIn note on a typical day and you might too. We look at them all and take a moment in case we have a connection idea. Sometimes we do and often times we do not have ideas to share. We move on. Sound familiar you connectors out there?
Take a moment. Think about the person you just received the email from where you have an instant connection with their voice and good feeling about past conversations. Even short conversations stick with us if we don’t remember what was said. We remember our feeling of the personal brand more over voice and considerably more when looking into the eyes of our fellow human being. It is true. So with that in mind, is the best strategy in connecting to provide the feeling of voice? No doubt the answer is yes. Use the Internet to grow the network. Use target networking events in your community to grow your network. Add value every day. Use the phone to connect!
Why the phone works best during your job search
Taking the time to call someone matters in our mind. It does.
Even the shortest of conversations generally start off with getting caught up on things we value most. Major learning happens here.
Often times people are not crystal clear on what you want to do moving forward. On the phone you can better draw a picture of your future impact. Market your potential. You will learn the same about the person you are calling!
Passion comes out in your voice. People will never forget your passionate voice.
Easier to coordinate schedules and get moving to face meetings.
Staring with your outgoing voice mail: Have a clear, short and professional outgoing message inviting people to leave a message for you. Promise a returned call in a reasonable time and do it. Use your big voice and project with energy and excitement within your personality.
Leaving voice mail: First of all, leave one. Some people will never answer their phones for some reason, leave a message. Have a plan for your call. I don’t use a script because I know what I am going to say. Many people find it helpful to use a script. Go for it, I think it is a good idea to write down what you want to say in a pithy message. If you do script your voice mail, practice out loud first. Get to the point where you don’t have to read and certainly not sound like you are reading. When you have the confidence…you will not need the script.
What if you screw up on the voice mail. You stumble, get nervous or forget to say something you wish you said. Move on. So what. Make the next call right away.
Sit up straight and use your big voice. Proud, confident and passionate voice. Make your calls in one sitting and during the time of day where you have the most energy. Your last voice mail should be as energetic as the first.
When you leave a message, genuinely and politely address them. Quickly move to letting the person know why you are calling. When you leave your returned number (even if you know they have your number) slow down. Say it slow 3..0..3…..3..2..5……3..2..2..5. Close with statement of anticipation to connect.
Follow up call: People often ask if they should follow-up when they do not hear back in a reasonable time. I say yes, 100% of the time. People are busy and may not organize returning calls as well as you do. Call again and make note it is a second call. State you know they are busy, and respect their time. That is why you are looking for a short conversation to determine how you can support each other.
Live calls: When you get the person live on the phone. Know your purpose and be prepared to end the call achieving your goal for the call. Goals might include: learning about them, what is on their mind, how you can help and scheduling more time.
Be alive. Sit up straight and even be dressed for success. It matters when you are working the phone even from home.
Ask questions and be prepared.
Build a habit of being on the phone
Your life will be easier if you practice active phone calling as part of your networking during good and not so good times for you. Pick up the phone and call your contacts just to check in and learn about their world. You will be amazed about what you learn and how you can help. They will be amazed you took the time to check in or get to know them.
How do you find the time? Good question. I suggest blocking a half hour to 45 minutes every week (maybe a Friday afternoon) and calling your contacts. Start with ‘A’ and call a few people. Pick up where you left off next week at the same time. Get through the list making notes along the way and start over when you are done! Contact list short meaning you are calling your ‘A’s in a month? Grow your network on line and offline! You will be providing and gaining referrals along the way. Just this amount of time a week will change your life and the life of those you call.
Next time you are on the market or in need of some kind, your email blast will get a better response. I guarantee it!