Networking via e-mail or telephone?

I frequently get asked the question what the most effective way of communication is to maintain or expand your network. During a career transition phase, the ultimate goal of networking is orientating yourself on your next career step. In our modern times with professional network sites and e-mail it can be challenging choosing your most effective communication method.

The professional network sites are a blessing of our time. LinkedIn, for instance, allows us to get a transparent view into the labour market, seeing in which industries and roles our peers work, how their career has evolved and which networks they are a part of. Best of all is that LinkedIn makes it easy to establish contact with people in our professional network and stay connected. The best feature of LinkedIn is that it has made it easier for us to expand our professional network, getting in touch with people we can learn from, those who possess skills that we are after or who can bring us further in our career. This is especially useful when you are in the orientation phase of your career and familiarising yourself with the options available for your next career move.

So what is an effective way of getting in touch with someone you do not know yet but who has professional experience that is useful to further your career? If you have used LinkedIn before then you know that the site differentiates between contacts in your 1st circle (people you know and are connected to), 2nd (professionals you are not directly linked to but could easily get in touch with) and 3rd circle (contacts you do not know yet and they may also not come up under searches). When you have found your targeted contact on LinkedIn then sending him/ her seems to be an obvious way to establish the first contact.

After you have prepared your message, thought about what it is you are after and thought about what you can give in return (after all networking is about giving and not taking!), have written your e-mail and sent it off, then the ‘waiting game’ begins. If you’re lucky you’ll receive an enthusiastic message swiftly after which you can set up a meeting. But what if you don’t?

Many of my clients are faced with this challenge. Quite a number of us experience anxiety when picking up the phone to call a total stranger. Instead of doing this, they may send a reminder message. But we all know what we do when being faced with many e-mails; we’ll prioritise and may even use the delete button when doing so. Thus, sending reminder e-mails usually do lead to a fruitful result.

Do you experience anxiety when having to call a stranger? Do you keep staring at the phone thinking about dialling the number without actually getting yourself to do it? Struggling with knowing how to prepare such as phone conversation? Fill out our contact form now so we can schedule a coaching/ training session in which we can discuss your anxiety and establish ways to overcome it. In our meeting we can prepare your phone conversation and use roleplay to practice.

Good luck in pitching yourself during your follow up calls!

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