Find enclosed the summary regarding the conference offered by Sonia Fernandez, Managing Director of Match.com. Due to the exams many of you could not do it. You can read this and take notes…
Dalina, Mary Margaret and Marion, coordinators of IE’s Women in Business Club (WIB) along with Juan Diaz-Andreu, our IT and Entrepreneurship professor, organized this event with Sonia Fernandez, the author of “Dos Grados: Networking, cultiva tu red virtual de contactos.” A great book that describes the best practices of the art and ability that every manager who wants to reach top positions should be an expert on.
Professor Juan introduced Sonia and referred to the article of Herminia Ibarra, OB professor at Insead, who points out three types of networks that are equally important for business: operational, personal and strategic. The first two relate to daily work and personal life contacts, while the last one relates to those contacts that allow you to continue to develop professionally. They require an extra effort but, “these are the networks that people often use when they want to make a career move”.
As an experienced MBA from Standford University, Sonia Fernandez started her conference with an incontestable statistic: only 20% of job offers are advertised in the press, internet or other media. This means that 80% are managed some other way. She also discussed culture differences. For some cultures, using personal networks to get things is perceived negatively, but for other cultures it is clearly the way to go.
But do you really need to build such networks? Even though you are clever, experienced, and hold a master degree from a prestigious international school? YES YOU HAVE TO.
Sonia explained the importance of “connectivity” and “social capital,” two basic terms coined when talking about networking. She also explained the well-known concept “Six degrees of separation.” She decided to call her book “Two Degrees” or “Dos Grados”, revealing the further revolution that the internet has brought to personal and professional relationships. We are even more closely connected than ever before.
Based on Sonia’s opinion, it is difficult to keep more than 250 contacts or people who would return your phone call if you left them a message. It does not have to be so difficult to:
1. Manage to have a lunch from time to time with someone that can be the touchstone of your strategic network.
2. Try to put people in touch who you know would benefit from knowing each other.
3. Keep an agenda!
4. Attend conferences and other activities.
5. Do not use the network only when you need it.
Therefore, suggestions are to:
1. Build up your networking diagram: Build a list of the contacts with name and surname who would return your phone calls.
2. Make networking a part of your daily routine and work in advance: Keep your CV in shape. If you are an entrepreneur, do not wait to polish your business plan the night before your unexpected appointment with your angel investor.
3. Do not look for excuses: “I am shy”: Everybody is shy! “I do not have time”: Make time!
4. Do not put anybody in uncomfortable situations: “You told me you would introduce me to…”
5. Do not get anxious: Professional life is a cycle. Sonia explained to us that in the late nineties, during the dotcom crash, many people became unemployed, and those who got a job first were probably those who managed to keep calm. Do not worry that your friends get a job before you. It is irrelevant!
6. Do not forget the person who helped you: even though you most likely did not get the job through him or her.
7. Do not promise what you cannot do.
8. Do not make someone feel unimportant.
9. Take a risk! Meet new people. In some cultures people usually ask, “Who is going? Nobody I know? Then I do not want to go…” NO!! It is better if you do not know anybody, you will meet new people. Besides, many people are there in the same situation; they do not know anybody either.
10. Develop your hobbies and join associations related to your interests: If none exist, create them!
11. Be a host!: Be a connector and share different networks.
12. Request advice from people you admire.
13. Give first, you will receive later.
Juan finished this brilliant exposition with a very practical wrap up:
Accept your imperious need of networking.
Relocate your time.
Read the book and follow the instructions… if she asks you to close the book and draw your social diagram, Do it!
Invest and get used to not getting a return from anyone.
Be special, a hand written letter can make the difference.
Do not ask for job but for advice… the business world is full of egos.
Join the Alumni Association and be active. Join other Associations such as the “Ryder Club”.
Yes, we know that Sonia and Juan said only obvious things, but among their “dos” and “do not’s,” all the attendees agreed they had found at least ten ways to improve their network.»