Open up any women’s leadership book and you’ll find piece after piece of advice on how to Build. Your. Network.
And this is great. Building your network is super important. But…
…you probably know this already, right?
You’ve heard all the conventional wisdom about using your network to advance your career and you’ve probably been successful implementing a strategy or two already.
But the networking advice that got you to this point in your career were just the basics. You need advanced networking strategies to make it to that next level.
Because, as you advance in your career, having a strong network isn’t just a nice thing to have – it’s non-negotiable.
That’s why I’ve dedicated this episode to revealing the next-level networking secrets that you definitely don’t know.
These are secrets I’ve given my clients so they could advance into higher level leadership positions, so I know they’ll work for you too.
And these are the type of networking strategies that never show up in typical leadership books.
On this episode of Maximize Your Career with Stacy Mayer, you’ll discover how to grow your network and make your relationships work for you.
This episode is Part 2 of a 3-part podcast series I am doing entitled: Executive Relationships.
Each episode of Executive Relationships will dive into an aspect of how to build and leverage the kind of relationships that will help you advance your career, have a greater impact, and enjoy a stronger voice at the leadership table.
What You'll Learn:
- The two reasons why so many people aren’t networking proactively.
- The types of networks women corporate leaders need to develop.
- The connection between a weak network and a lack of professional development.
- A super practical strategy for building a networking database.
- Three steps to great networking conversations.
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
- Listen to my episode on Eleanor Beaton’s podcast, Power + Presence + Position
- Marie Forleo’s Everything Is Figureoutable
- Keith Ferrazzi’s Never Eat Alone
- Ep #71: Executive Relationships Part 1: The Fastest Way to Build Trust with the Leadership Team
- Download my Ask Better Questions checklist
- Connect with me on LinkedIn
- Join the waitlist for my 6-week group coaching intensive, Executive Ahead of Time
Hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of Maximize Your Career. I'm your host, Stacy Mayer.
And super excited, as always, to be here with you again this week. It has been a very exciting week for me over here in Stacy Mayer world. I was interviewed this week for my I guess you could call her my mentor, my coach, my business adviser. I was interviewed for her podcast this week. And I want to tell you, this is a really big full circle moment for me. So I just wanted to share this with you and a little bit about my journey before I get into today's episode.
So I worked about six years ago. I worked for a women's leadership organization in San Francisco and I would commute into San Francisco. And this was really the beginning of my very specific coaching career. I had taught yoga and meditation and mindfulness practices here and there, but actually caught coaching corporate leaders.
This was the beginning of my career and I would take the subway into San Francisco and I wanted to be in the zone. I wanted to do a good job and I wanted to feel good about the work that I was doing. So I would listen to podcasts and and actually I say I wanted to be in the zone. How many podcasts I listen to now? Like ten a week, ten episodes a week. I mean, podcasts, reading, putting the right things in my ears, listening to audible books, reading books. All of these things are just my normal practice now. But at the time I was looking for a women's leadership podcast to really just kind of get me in the zone so that I was feeling good about my life and everything that I could coach these women.
And I came across Eleanor's podcast and her podcast is specifically focused towards women entrepreneurs. But at the time I was so enamored by her and her mission and just really what she believed was possible for women.
And just really, she's talking about on her podcast, like changing the global economy and bringing more women into seven, eight figures. And it's just it's very, very empowering, the work that she does.
And so I would listen to this podcast religiously every time I would go into San Francisco. And I would feel really empowered, not because of the tips that she was given, but because of her mission and what she believed was possible. And really the work, honestly, that she was doing. What she was actually making possible both for herself and for other women. And then full circle, I was asked to be interviewed on her podcast this last week, and it'll be coming out probably in the next month or so. And I'll make sure I share it with all of you. But I was asked to be interviewed because of the work that I'm doing and because of my mission and because of my conviction and the work that I'm doing for women and male minority leaders. And because now my mission, my conviction a female leader is so strong, and the amount of impact I've been able to make because of my Executive Ahead Of Time program. Because I was willing to show up as a leader and not just a subject matter expert, which is something that I talk about a lot on here. But I was able to lead other people to go after their own careers and give you guys the tools to do that. So that's why I was asked to be on her podcast and really share my journey and how I got to this point.
But the reason I'm sharing it with you right now is because, I didn't even think about being on her podcast six years ago. That was like so far out of my mind. I just was enjoying it. I was listening to it. And I think that the important thing is, is that I just showed up, I did the work, I did what she told me to do what she suggested. I started to notice the results in of myself over the years. And so my encouragement to you is to really think about where you want to be, but you may not even be able to imagine that yet. But just in terms of what is it that you get out of my podcast? What are you hearing over and over again that you're just like: 'Yes, that's it. That's what I want. I want to be making a bigger impact to my organization. I want people to call on me for my ideas and not just the hours that I'm putting in or to put out fires at work. I want to be included in higher level conversations. I want to be a part of a female community with other amazing corporate leaders. I want to be inspired by other leaders. I want to feel empowered so that I never have to feel like a victim of my career again.'.
If these are all things that you get out of my podcast, know that that is one hundred and fifty percent possible for you.
Marie Foleo has a brilliant quote, and I'm going to paraphrase it a little bit, but it's it's basically:
You wouldn't have the desire in your heart if it wasn't possible to actually make happen.
And I think that is so true. I think that is so, so true.
Marie is actually the author of Everything Is Figureoutable and another incredible female entrepreneur that I've been following for like 15 years. If I could ever be on MarieTV, that's another dream, you'll hear about that. It's one of those things. It's like we listen to these things and then all of a sudden we find ourselves on them like: 'Oh, my god, had did this happen?'
But it's it's part of being being on a mission. Being on a mission. And it's and when I talk about 3xed vision, it's really understanding what is that greater vision? What is that impact that I want to make that's really specific to you? I give you lots of ideas of what that could be. But I really want to encourage you to just dream big. And before you know it, five years from now, two years from now, whatever that might be, you're going to look back and be like: 'Oh, my God. How did that happen? Where did I go? How did I make this happen?' It happens over and over again. And it's funny because it doesn't actually have to take three years, six years. It can happen very, very quickly.
I've told you about my client, who actually when I first started working with her, she wanted to be a CFO someday. It was way big in her future. Why did she want to be a CFO? Because she wanted a seat at the table, because she wanted to be driving change from the top. Because she wanted to drive financial strategy for her organization and not just be putting in the numbers. And doing spreadsheets. Because she really wanted to make a bigger impact at her organization.
And so I encouraged her to get really clear on what that CFO vision would be someday for her. And then we broke that down and we said: 'OK, well, what's going to need to happen now in order to get there?'.
And so she started to make decisions about her career from that 3xed vision place. And she started saying no to certain things at work. She started to show up as that more strategic leader today?
And then she actually ended up having an opportunity, by circumstance, where she was going to be laid off of her job. And she so she had to find a job as soon as possible. But because we had been doing the work of having that CFO mindset...
Now, I forgot to tell you, she was a senior director. So technically, she has to become a vice president, a senior vice president, depending on your organization and all the layers. There's a lot of layers between that and CFO. But because she was so clear on her CFO vision, when she started interviewing, she was interviewing, mindset wise, at that CFO level. She wasn't interviewing for CFO positions, but her thinking and the way she was showing up into her interview process was as a CFO.
So she actually landed a vice president position as part of that interview process. And within, I think nine months after being in that position, she was promoted to CFO.
So that's how this works. You could get your dreams a heck of a lot faster if you really put yourself into that bigger space, if you put yourself into that bigger situation.
Now, I also want to share with you how I landed the interview on Eleanor's podcast. Because I think this will be really powerful for you.
I asked. And I talk about how advocating for your promotion doesn't mean that you don't deserve it. I don't think anybody would look at me and say: 'Oh, you don't deserve to be on her on her podcast.' And the fact of the matter is, if I asked to be on her podcast and she would say: 'no.' Then that's fine. Like, whatever. She's going to tell me 'no'. If she doesn't think I deserve to be on it. But I ask and she said: 'Of course.'.
And then not only that, it was actually perfect. Because, and the reason that I asked, is because I knew I had done the work. I knew that my mission was strong. I knew that I could be very valuable for her listeners. But it wasn't easy. I had to challenge myself to ask.
So the second thing I want to share with you, and hopefully this is all really good lessons learned before we even get into the meat of today's podcast is really if there's something that you think is going to get you closer to your 3Xed vision of making a bigger impact, of really having that desire and that change at your organization, ask for that project, for that promotion, for that opportunity, not out of selfishness, but because you are really committed to making that bigger impact at your organization.
So I encourage you all to just ask. And once you do ask, you'll know where you stand. And not in a like: 'Oh, it'll break me if they say no.' It's like. No ask and then and then you can ask why, and then you can get feedback and then you can make changes so that you can get on your metaphorical podcast, whatever that might be for you in the future, you'll know what it's going to take.
So this is huge. I really want you guys to take all of this these lessons to heart. Because everything that I teach is something I do myself. And actually, that's going to lead us into today's episode.
These are all practices that I have. I don't ask you to do anything that I wouldn't do myself. And I'm always, because of how big and bold you guys are being, it's challenging me to step up even more. So I'm saying: 'OK, waterways that I'm holding myself back. What are some steps that I can start doing today to really advance my own career?'
And so I just want to encourage you guys and also let you know that these things are real. They work. They work for me. I try them on myself. I try them on my clients. I know what works. I know what doesn't work. And everything that I share with you on this podcast is something that I would do myself. So please know that and take that to heart.
Actually. So like I said, it goes in perfectly with today's episode, which is all about networking.
So this is part two of a three part series called Executive Relationships.
And I put together this series because in inside of Executive Ahead Of Time, I have a process that I teach called 15-Minute Ally Meetings. And the purpose of that is so that you can start really building trust with the executive team.
And I talk a lot about that in the first part of the series. So go back and listen to that episode as well. Episode #71.
But as with all of this series...So I said that I teach 15-Minute Ally Meetings inside of Executive Ahead Of Time. Really the goal when you first join Executive Ahead Of Time is just to schedule the meetings. So it's not that advanced. Many of you are not scheduling the meetings. You're not even scheduling it. You're not even having the conversations that I'm asking you to have. But at an advanced level, and this goes into more what I'm teaching inside of the Promotion Accelerator, my advanced six-month training program, at the advanced level, we're going much deeper into how do we cultivate those relationships? How do we know that we're really building trust? How do we create ongoing relationships, create a new cadence for ourselves? How do we start leveraging those relationships, which I'm going to talk more about in the next part of the series.
But in today's episode, it's all about building that network. Now, networking is said very much so at the entry level. So if you open up a women's leadership book or anything that you see, it says that you should build your network. And if you're looking for a job or anything like that, they always say it's all about your network. It's not about your resume. Of course, your resume has to be good, but it's about your network. It's about who know. It's about leveraging those relationships.
But unless we're actually having the meetings, Executive Ahead Of Time, let's just get those meetings on the calendar. Unless we're actually having those meetings, we can't even begin to understand how to start actually networking. How to really start making those relationships work for us.
So this 3-part series is also what I would consider to be an advanced series. And the reason why I whare that with you is because this is very nuanced work.
And I just want you to know, if you've heard about networking and you're like: 'Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I know what to do. I know how to do that.' You might not.
And so that's really what I want to get into in today's episode is really what don't you know about networking so that you can start doing better. That advanced, advanced networking to really use your relationships to work for you. And I'm going to show you all the ways that they can start working for you better and really understand what you're doing in those networking conversations.
So the first mindset, and like the point of view that I want you to get into, is to really understand the concept of networking and what I believe about networking. And it's that networking is not something that we do when we need something.
I'm going to repeat that again. Network is not networking is not something that we do when we need something from somebody. I learned this from eith Ferrazzi's book, which is called Never Eat Alone, and if you've never read this book, just think about the title and please go out and buy the book because it's brilliant. But if you've never read this book, just think about the title, Never Eat Alone.
So basically what he's saying is that you have to eat lunch. And now back in the day when we actually used to go into the office, it was even more obvious, right? We had to eat lunch. So he's like: use your lunch conversations to network, to build and expand your network. So it makes it in everyday practice. But so many people don't do networking proactively, and I want you to realize the only reason that you're not doing networking proactively is because you feel like you don't have enough time.
So you've probably got a home life in addition to your work where you're already in the weeds so much, you're already doing so many hours, you can't imagine putting in more hours for networking.
So one thing is, you literally just do not have the time in the day you feel like.
And then the second thing is that you don't know how to do it well. So it feels like a waste of time because you don't have an actual strategy for networking. So it just feels Willy-Nilly. So it doesn't really make a ton of sense to put your time and effort into that. You might as well just do your job.
So to address the first point, which is that we don't have enough time, I want you to start understanding that we prioritize what we care about. And this is this actually really, really true.
Anything in your life that you truly want to make time for, you're going to make time for it. That's just it's always what we want. Why would anybody want to make time for networking if they didn't like it? It doesn't make any sense. And so it's like: 'Well, what is networking? It's a bunch of superficial relationships. It's kind of like I don't really like talking about myself that much.'
A lot of my clients are very introverted personality types. So they don't really get excited about meeting people. And I will tell you that I am definitely a pretty hardcore extrovert and I don't get excited about small talk.
So when I talk about I do all of these things, the thing I do not do is schedule a bunch of conversations with people to just chit chat.
Actually, I had this conversation with a woman recently where I was like, why? Why are we doing this? Oh my God. We're like talking about our kids and this and that. But it was a professional conversation. I was like, oh my God, this is terrible. And I was like, never want to do that again.
And so that's what ends up happening with our networking conversations, is that they just really fall flat because we don't know what to talk about in them and we don't know what our strategy is.
So the first piece of your networking strategy in terms of building executive relationships, the first piece and the most important piece is to commit to having a networking strategy.
So here's what I mean.
If you know anybody in sales, somebody who is really brilliant at sales or marketing and you hear about their CRM, their customer resource management tool, or a database of potential clients and all of that stuff, in sales and marketing, networking is everything in terms of their job. So if they don't have a network that they don't make money. So they have to have a network.
So the first thing that I want you to just start to sort of infiltrate into your psyche is that networking is actually not optional. And really think about that.
I interview a lot of high level executive, C-Suite executives, both for this podcast and then also for my clients. I do stakeholder interviews for all of my advanced clients, and I always interview them and they always say what got them there is their network, their relationships. What got you here won't get you there. Your hard work got you here. Your network gets you to the next level.
So the first thing I want you to do is, let's just say. Let's just say that that's actually true. That we can't bulldoze our way to the top. We can't culldoze our way to the C suite. Are you with me? I mean, you can argue with me because some people actually do get to the top anyway. But I would hate to be a CFO at an organization with no network. That would be pretty crappy. And one of the reasons for that is, is that at that higher leadership level, when you're leading teams of 200, 300, 500 people in terms of leading leaders and then their leaders and their leaders and their leaders. You can't do it alone. There's not actually enough hours in the day.
So the first thing I want you to really understand is your network is non negotiable. So just like if you're in sales, you're not going to not have a network.
So this has nothing to do with getting a job. Did I say getting a job or getting a promotion? This actually has to do with being successful in your current job and your future jobs. This is about being successful. Actually succeeding at your job. Because once you start pulling away from that subject matter expertise. What do you have to rely on? It's your leadership. It's your network. It's your ability to make big decisions. It's your ability to ask for more. It's your ability to ask for help. It's your ability to speak to the bigger picture. Ok, you follow me? So if you're on board, keep keep listening. If you're not on board, keep listening. Network is non-negotiable.
So we understand that. And now the second thing is: 'OK, well, so fine. My network is non-negotiable, but I still don't have enough time in the day. I still don't know what to do in these conversations. I don't even know what this means.'
So the second piece of the puzzle is there is a popular adage in women's leadership that they have these that women tend to have deep and narrow relationships and that men have wide and shallow relationships.
So some of what I'm talking about today is that wide and shallow relationship and some of what I'm talking about today is that deep and narrow relationship. We're sort of building out both sides of these.
Now, the reason behind and this is why they say that women tend to have these sort of deep relationships, but yet there's not as many basically is what that saying is that we don't know as many people, but we have these really deep relationships, is because women tend to care a lot about connection. They care about connecting with other people and they want the relationships to be truly genuine and real.
But the other thing that this implies here, and this is why I don't think it necessarily speaks to all men, is that it implies that there's a strategy. So when we have those wider, more shallow relationships, that's usually strategic. So what we're doing there when we have those wider relationships is we're connecting to literally numbers more people. We're connecting to more and more and more and more people. And what I'm suggesting is let's connect to both more and more and more and more people, and let's also build some solid, rock solid, deep relationships with a select few. And I'll talk a lot about that next week.
So those are more like the mentors, the sponsors leveraging those solid, rock solid relationships. We're going to talk about how to take those relationships deeper.
But into today's episode, I'm really talking about how do we just expand our network? How do we just expand our numbers? And really understanding and I truly, honestly, I meet a lot of men who have the same challenge. And I think more so than male/female. What it comes down to is lack of strategy in terms of professional development. That up until this point in your career, you've been heads down really trying to do a good job, staying focused on your work and not focusing on building your network. Unless you're in a career like sales. It's it's really easy to kind of fall into that trap and not even think about networking as a thing that you're supposed to do.
So like I said, the first step inside of Executive Ahead Of Time is let's just start scheduling those meetings. So that's that's the first thing that I want you to do. Is really start to just let's just look at our network. Let's just play around with it a little bit. Let's start to think about how are we going to build up that Rolodex of network. So I really encourage each of you to literally open up a spreadsheet and just start to put in names. Or you could open up your journal or whatever that is and just write in names.
Now, I promised you that I'm not going to tell you anything that I don't do myself. And honestly, what I do is when I'm seeking out... I need to talk to somebody at this organization or that thing or whatever is I do searches, Ok? And I want to offer that to you. This is totally cool.
So the first step is the best place for you to search is LinkedIn. So the first step is frickin connected to the person. So when you meet somebody, when you have a connection, like literally just connect to them, that's pretty easy. You just hit connect. I met you this weekend and I'd love to connect. So do that. Get those people. And that is your database. So that becomes your your database, your relationships database, your networking database.
And then you just go into it and you search. You search for, at any given time you could search for titles. You could search for names of companies. Whatever that is. You can just kind of go on to LinkedIn adhoc and look and read articles and see who seems interesting, things like that.
So the first thing is to commit to your database. So if you're really advancing, you want to create a spreadsheet, fantastic. A LinkedIn Google search. Well, I call it LinkedIn search, not Google search, but LinkedIn search is totally fine as well as a starting off point because it's still committing to your network.
Ok, now what I want to do because I want to make this super duper easy for you, is I want you to set aside some time once a month to just sit your butt down for 30 minutes or one hour and do the search and actually schedule 15-minute meetings. And so we could go back to the 15-Minute Ally Meetings of the last part of the series and really look at what those mean. But really just think: 'how can I schedule a conversation with this person?'
I do not want you to limit yourself to people you actually know. Ok, I would actually prefer that you talk to people you don't know. Or you haven't talked to them in a long time. So that's my preference and here's the reason why. Most job opportunities, most actual opportunities, come from that second connection. So that person who knows you really, really well will introduce you to someone else. And then that someone else will actually give you a job opportunity. I think there's there is definitely research on this and statistics around that, but also you can just look at your own life and really see: 'Ok, how did I get this opportunity? It's usually not the person that you talk to every day. It's somebody else. It's them introducing you to someone else. OK, so it's all about expanding and expanding. So I encourage you to expand yourself and to have those conversations.'.
So you're going to schedule those 15-minute conversations. Now, remember, you don't actually need anything. So even if you're looking for a job, that's not what this first conversation is about. This first conversation is connecting. I heard about you. I know about you. We haven't talked in a while. I'd like to schedule 15-minutes on your calendar.
So step number two is schedule the meeting.
Now, step number three is you actually have to have the meeting. And so what I would call this is an advanced informational interview. And I think it's really important to think of it as advanced is because we're all looking to move into executive leadership. So let's not act like entry level employees here in an informational interview. So really, think about what would a CFO ask in a networking type conversation? What are those high level strategic things that you actually want to know about? Don't be boring in these conversations. Step up to the plate and actually show up as the bad ass executive that you already are.
And so just really meet these people as peers, as intellectuals, offering back and forth conversation. That is the most important thing.
Now at the end of this conversation. So first of all, you'll walk away from that conversation being like, oh, that was better. Maybe I didn't like it because all we did was talk about our dogs and our kids and we didn't really talk about anything interesting. So make it interesting. And I'm telling you, please.
I also have a PDF that you can download, which is go to StacyMayer.com/Questions. And I'll probably share this again in the next episode, but this is a list of questions that you can start to ask your mentors in your sponsors as you run out of questions. But they're totally great questions that you can use here in these networking conversations a well. They're basically about how to stay curious and really engage in the conversation at a higher level.
So go to StacyMayer.com/Questions to download that PDF, and it gives you a list of 20 questions that you can use at any given time.
But what you're looking for in these conversations is they could literally be one and done. And meaning that you don't have to meet with this person every single month. And think about it. If somebody connects with you and actually...So where we're headed is when you actually want some support and you actually need something from somebody, how you can go back and ask them and you feel like it's not the first conversation. You can have this, as Keith Ferrazzi calls it, lunch. You can have this lunch with many, many different people, really expanding our network. Like I said, it's going to be super shallow. You're not going to get to know these people inside and out. But basically our goal is to have that first conversation, to get in the door, to really just connect with that person.
And then you can just go back into your database. They're connected on LinkedIn. And every single month you're going to do a search on your LinkedIn and you're actually going to ask yourself, who can I meet with this month? And schedule five of these conversations every single month?
Oh my God. Literally think about this. How much further will you be in terms of networking if you scheduled five of these conversations a month?
And like I said, I don't care if you're introverted. This is becoming that executive. You are acting like a senior executive, a person that has a network, a person that is surrounded by other powerful people to lift them up, to remind them that they already are the executive.
So you need to go back to step one, which is commit. Commit and know that you are supposed to, I hate to say supposed to, you should, but that is part of your job to expand your network. You would not be in sales and then just have zero network. So it is part of your job as an executive leader to have a expanded network.
Step number two, schedule the meeting, which is part of the battle. Just get these scheduled. Commit to having five a month of these types of conversations with different people. It doesn't have to be the same person.
And then step number three is what are you going to actually talk about in these conversations? And really make it smart, make it high level, make it strategic, make it intelligent. And by smart, I just mean a little bit of a plan to go in there. At this higher what I would call peer to peer relationship. So even if they're much higher executive than you are, you're going to connect with them peer to peer.
And so it's not that you have to spend 50 minutes preparing for this 15 minute meeting. No, you spend five minutes. But you're like, what are the higher level questions that I'm going to ask this person. And then ask every single person the same thing? So now your prep is done...and know that that is the purpose of this meeting. It doesn't have to go further.
And in the next part of the series, I'm going to be talking about what to do when you want it to go further. So how to actually leverage these relationships and make them work for you? But in today's episode, it's really committing to the strategy of networking, to creating that very wide, shallow network, to really understanding: 'You know what? It is important for me at the senior executive level. To meet as many people as possible, to have connections at this higher level. This is part of my job. And then, of course, when we need something, we can ask them.' And I'll tell you all about that next time.
But for now, I just really want to encourage you to go back, do your little LinkedIn database search, figure out who you want to meet with this month and make it happen. I guarantee you, if you start to do that, you're going to feel better about your current job. You're going to feel better about your possibilities, and you're going to start to understand and see yourself as that senior executive leader so that we can make this happen.
Thank you so much for being here. And I hope you have a wonderful week. Bye!
About Your Host
Hi! I'm Stacy Mayer, a Certified Executive Coach and Promotion Strategist on a mission to bring more diversity to the leadership table by getting 1000 underrepresented corporate managers promoted into senior executive positions each year worldwide.
I help undervalued executives scale to the C-Suite using repositioning strategies that build your confidence and visibility, so you can earn the recognition and support you need from key stakeholders while embodying your unique leadership style.
My podcast “Women Changing Leadership with Stacy Mayer” tackles topics like executive communication, getting more respect in the workplace from challenging bosses and team members, and avoiding the common mistakes that sabotage career advancement.