I am simply a part time guitar teacher. Nothing glamorous. I have taught children, five years old and up, how to pluck on some strings and learn a little music in the process since I was in high school.
You might say “great, teaching lessons to a twelve year old isn’t exactly being a networking guru.”
Alright, you might have a point there… but what do private music instructors, tutors, personal trainers, photographers etc. etc. etc. have in common? All of us have insider access to some of the most successful families in the region without the need for a prestigious country club membership. Not only that, but we are being paid to network with these incredible individuals!
Here is a condensed list of professional contacts I’ve gained while holding a guitar: doctors, plastic surgeons, entrepreneurs, accountants, media directors, authors, lawyers, journalists, CEO’s, VP’s, engineers, executives, corporate buyers, real estate investors, restauranteurs, and franchise owners… just to name a few.
Just by teaching a few guitar chords, staying on task, and making sure that parents are seeing worth-while results, I automatically have more professional leverage than any career placement program at a university.
So how does this apply to me and what can I learn from this?
For us Generation Y’ers, we all have to remember that personal connections build lasting relationships. Do a little bit of research on the successful people around you. After all, you have to have a shared interest in order to network. Ask a few engaging questions to show your interest, then ask if you can meet up to talk more over a cup of coffee or (insert favorite beverage here).
Since I have been teaching, I have had the opportunity to learn about real estate, politics, investments, publishing, copyrights, business plans, and innovation… outside of the classroom and without joining any professional organization.
Just remember to have a genuine interest, be a good listener, and follow up with a thank-you email with a few insightful thoughts to keep the connection going.
What are some of your favorite networking tricks?
Who have you had the opportunity to network with?
What kind of advice do you have for Generation Y?
I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions.