Explain to your network how they can best help you

Let's face it, we are all busy. With the advent of social media and being able to keep in touch so more frequently and readily - we now have many more people "on our radar" then ever before.

So when someone in your network comes to you for help, how easily do you remember what help they need, 1 hour, 1 day or 1 week later?

Chances are within a few hours or at least days most of what they told you is forgotten. It's not a reflection of them or your relationship or the value you place on them. They are doing exactly the same with the information you asked them to remember.

Ask them to make it easy for you and outline it in a one page document. Not something you necessarily carry around with you but may refer to on occasion.

Ask them to list the following:

  • Problems you should be listening out for that they can solve.
  • Their specific expertise - top two or three things they are best known for.
  • Specific companies or opportunities they would like an introduction to.

What they are doing is setting up some triggers for you that will then sub- conciously listening out for. You would be wise to do the same for whatever you want help from your network.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Good points Paul. In my experience, people are not specific enough in their requests. Bad: “I’m looking for opportunities in project management.” Better “Keep you keep your ears open if you bump into anyone in the GTA area who needs an expert on project management?” Best: “Do you have any contacts at ADP? (There is a link to an Outreach document under networking; see resources at realhumanbeing.org) As well, this “use your network to help you also assumes your network wants to help you. Linked In contacts, Twitter followers and Facebook friends do not necessarily represent people who will actively assist you.

  • If you take time to tell people which 10 companies you want to work for [best] or exactly what role you want to play in what industry [very good] you stand a better chance of getting what you’re after. Being “open” to new opportunities is the kiss of death and of no help to those who could help you because if they have to guess – they will guess wrong and then you’ll say “No not that” and they won’t guess again. Do your friends a favour and tell them exactly what you’re looking for in as much detail as possible. then ask them who would you talk to? Now they don’t look stupid if they don’t know anyone AND by asking them what they would do give them ownership of the problem as if it was there’s and they’ll be 500% more likely to really think about it with no repercussions to either of you. it’s Networking Psychology 401. More ideas at http://www.GM4JH.com

  • Thank you for today’s insightful edition. Too often I feel we think people know you and instinctively know hat you’re looking for – professionally or otherwise. Giving them a “one pager” outlining key skills, accomplishments, focus, goals, etc. makes sense.

  • Dave – a
    great reminder that followers and connections may just be acquaintances or even
    less in your network andI recommend the Outreach document you mention. –
    Paul