Doug Lester: Less Awkward Networking
networking in practice

Doug Lester: Less Awkward Networking

8 min read

Leveraging your network to advance your career or grow your business can seem transactional. Say you have a contact that you've spoken to in the past and you'd like to pick their brain again, how would you reach out to them in a way that seems more personal?

In his new masterclass for Covve, Doug Lester shares an anecdotal experience of reconnecting with someone he had already spoken with before to ask them for help, again. It could have been awkward and cold, but it ended up being the opposite. He highlights the impact of note taking, and how it can turn a potentially awkward conversation into a friendlier, warmer catch-up with a personal connection.

The trick is listening carefully for personal details about a networking contact and capturing that information in your notes so you can recall that information in future conversations.

In business, we tend to focus on information that seems directly related to the task at hand. But when we do that, it's easy to neglect personal details about our contacts that can help change the tone of future conversations for the better. The notes about personal details you gather today may not help you immediately, but recalling them in a few months' time can prove to be invaluable when you reach out to a networking contact a second, third or even a fourth time.

In Doug's story, he shares how by recalling something his networking contact had mentioned in a previous conversation, he was able to make his contact feel heard and valued as a person. As a result, what could have been a fairly; transactional and cold conversation ended up being more personal and warm; And Doug's contact was more open to listening to him and helping him by sharing her knowledge and advice.

Doug advises professionals to keep track of notes that aid in relationship building during networking, and in his experience, he has found that using a personal CRM like Covve is an effective solution. Covve's note-taking features allow him to keep key information about his contacts organized and easily accessible when reconnecting.

Doug Lester is a career strategist and executive coach for MBA students and alumni at a top business school and executives at Fortune 100 companies.