Networking: Know Yourself to Lead Yourself

1200x630bbWhen you think of a networking guru, what qualities do you imagine that they possess?

More than likely, you conjured up images of someone who is charismatic and chatty; confident and charming. BUT we have all met someone who fits this description on paper, but comes off as scripted or inauthentic… or downright aggressive.

The reality is, effective networking (and coaching) is about building relationships–and you don’t have to be extroverted to do that well.

Podcast Review: Sports Leadership Podcast #26 – Networking

My favorite part about exploring new podcasts is discovering hosts who display an unexpected combination of vulnerability and wisdom.

This episode focuses on the importance of the Delphic maxim, “know thyself” or, as hosts Kevin Deshazo and Mark Hodskin offer, “know yourself to lead yourself.” Deshazo is an extrovert and Hodgkin an introvert. Together, they compare experiences to offer a deeper exploration of effective, personalized networking in the world of athletic leadership.

The most unique networking tip offered in this episode was to spend some time seeking connection with those on the outskirts of the event. If someone looks shy or uncomfortable, approach them with a friendly question. Get them talking, and show them that their presence is valuable to you. You don’t have to spend an hour with them, but be willing to engage them for at least a few minutes.

It’s easy to get so caught up in seeking out the “big-wigs” that you forget to truly connect with those around you. It’s not hard to spot someone who is just looking to climb the ladder–at networking events and in life. Don’t be that person.

Deshazo and Hodskin might have different styles when it comes to networking, but they both agree on one thing: “Networking is crucial for growing your career, whether it comes naturally or not.”

Below are some of the tips that they offered for networking at conference events:

  1. Recognize that it’s exhausting!
  2. Recharge during the day — take a break to exercise, nap, breathe
  3. Ask questions: If you’re an introvert, it keeps you from having to talk! If you’re an extrovert, it keeps you from talking too much!
  4. Don’t feel sad if it doesn’t feel like it’s “working” — people are busy and conferences are crazy.
  5. Focus on relationships. DON’T talk business/sales.
  6. Make the networking event a good experience for others — help those on the outskirts feel valued.
  7. Be a “lobby person” — after a session, be available for conversation
  8. Don’t try to be something you’re not — just be the healthiest & best version of yourself.

If this list is intriguing to you, give this podcast a listen. You are bound to identify with some of the experiences of the hosts , and whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, you will walk away from this podcast feeling both affirmed and challenged.

Also, check out Episode 25 (The Dangers of Comparison) and 24 (Leading Up) for more great leadership and self-care advice.

Find this podcast on iTunes or Soundcloud. Released July 25, 2018.

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Reviewed by: Hannah Chappell-Dick on August 29, 2018

Hannah Chappell-Dick is a volunteer assistant coach at Georgia Tech and run for Atlanta Track Club Elite in Atlanta, GA. She grew up in Bluffton, Ohio.

Read more here.

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