“The overall point in sharing information is that you’re giving people something that they can be able to relate to, and you’re doing it in a way that they can understand.” Nathan Perez
Regardless of your profession or where you are in your career progression, the importance of networking can not be overlooked. When done right, networking can bring tremendous benefits both professionally and personally. For some people, networking may feel uncomfortable, but our guest today, Nathan Perez, insists that networking is not as complex as it has been portrayed and involves exchanging information.
Besides being a genuine and hardworking introvert, Nathan Perez is also an award-winning author, a national speaker, and an executive and job search career coach at career innovation. He comes from unusually unique and diverse professional backgrounds himself and has a rare viewpoint on networking and how that relates to job search and career development.
Nathan is a formerly trained actor with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and theatre. His 20-year career in the arts was supported by simultaneously developing a business career, which involved an inordinate amount of resumes, networking meetings, and interviews in multiple businesses and industries. Utilizing that background, Nathan ties together his deep live audience experience with almost 15 years in the executive search industry, delivering dozens of webinars, seminars, and guest speaking engagements each year on the topics of networking, job search, and career development.
Before his work as an executive career coach, Nathan held the title of Vice President of Research in the retained search industry, where he was responsible for the first step of the executive recruitment process, devising strategies of “where and how to find” qualified candidates for all national and global search engagements. Consequently, networking was and continues to be a day-to-day function of his job. As a result, and because of his combined professional expertise, Nathan regularly works with professionals from different backgrounds and experience levels. This includes everyone from Hollywood movie stars and producers to sound engineers, fashion designers, new college grads, non-profit and civic leaders, veterans, and senior global executives.
He has been cited by The Huffington Post as one of the most connected people on LinkedIn worldwide. He is a member of the Actors Equity Association union (AEA); a voting union member of The Screen-Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA); the Author’s Guild; and served as Vice Chair at The Loft Literary Center, the nation’s largest literary and writing organization. He is an Honorary Commander with the 934th Airlift Wing, U.S. Air Force Reserve, home of the Global Vikings.
In today’s episode, our guest will talk about why networking is the most important skill you need for career development. He will also provide us with insightful tips on how to get the best out of networking meetings.
- I’m a professional speaker, an executive career coach, and I’ve been doing that for about eight years. [3:44]
- Before that, I was in the executive retained search industry, where I found the executive candidates for the executive recruiters to go and recruit, so networking was a major function of my overall job. [3:49]
- Before that, I spent 20 years in the entertainment industry as a professional actor and writer, formally trained in BFA Theatre Arts. [4:22]
- In 2012, the last firm that I had joined, I met my co-author for the book, “20 Minute Networking Meeting,” which eventually turned into three more editions. [4:41]
- A combination of her experience in the retained executive search industry and my experience in the retained executive search industry combined with the entertainment industry, networking was a topic that she had brought up as a bucket list idea for a book, and we jumped all over it. [4:53]
- All this has led to all the professional speaking in the workshops I do, where I give around 70 webinars and workshops per year. [5:12]
- Most of my speaking is geared around networking, not just job search, but networking for anything, including sales, business development, marketing, whatever it may be. [5:21]
- Currently, I work with universities, the military particularly the veterans, senior executives, and corporations, both for the corporations themselves and internally on building relationships. [5:33]
- Sometimes we call it networking, but at the heart of networking is relationship building, and I work with them one-on-one and in groups. [5:48]
- Networking is essential to just about everything, and I don’t think we necessarily think about what we’re doing to be [6:37]
- The word networking has gained sort of this negative connotation because of the behaviors that have been associated with it over time. [6:48]
- Networking is just the obtainment and exchange of information, and so we are doing it every day in every discussion that we ever have. [7:10]
- When doing an elevator pitch, you can have something general for someone you don’t know anything about. [11:45]
- If you’re intentional about your networking, you’ve hopefully researched someone and talk about your background in a way that’s relevant to that person you’re speaking to. [11:55]
- The overall point in sharing information is that you’re giving people something that they can relate to, and you’re doing it in a way that they can understand. [13:36]
- Commercial break. [15:08]
- Networking is just about the obtainment of information. [16:47]
- When it comes to running a meeting, there are five steps to it based on the 20-minute networking meeting. [17:06]
- The first step is just a great first impression of you in the meeting. This could be over the phone or virtual, but basically, it’s just a Hello. [17:23]
- The next step is a 30-60 second snapshot of your background or your professional experience. [17:45]
- Step number three is the great discussion and is the bulk of your meeting. This is about 12 to 15 minutes long, and it’s comprised of five key questions. [18:11]
- The first three questions are very specifically formulated for your contact from the research that you’ve done on your contact beforehand. [18:33]
- Question number four is about expanding your network where you ask for more names because people want to help and because they said yes to your meeting, more often than not, people will give up those names. [19:24]
- Question number five is the kind that takes your contact by surprise but in the best possible way. That question is, “how can I help you?” [20:15]
- Step number four is wrapping up the meeting. [21:32]
- Step number five is following up afterward, which can be immediate or ongoing follow-up. Ongoing follow-up is about keeping your network alive with time. [21:38]
- Every little piece of information that we exchange eventually kind of adds up into a big pile, and that big pile can be reserved for a continued discussion with that person, or that bigger pile could be informing other little piles that inform other discussions with other [24:31]
- There is never bad information, just what you do with it. [24:49]
- Understand that this networking thing is just the obtainment and exchange of information, and we’re doing it all the time. [25:55]
- If you can look at it this way, then every discussion you’re having is networking, and if you do something with the information, you will carve out a path for you wherever you want to go. [26:10]
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