September 2013 FEW Meeting Recap: Beyond Networking

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Building Your Relationship Capital

By Christina Hanazawa Gallagher, FEW Vice President

Do you dread networking events? The ‘race to finish with the most business cards?’ You are not alone. But, according to Julie Matsui, Training and Development Manager at American Express International and Elizabeth Handover, Learning Partner at Lumina Asia, networking leads to relationship capital, which can yield long-term benefits.

In their September 10th talk, “Beyond Networking: Building Your Relationship Capital,” explained how we can go past a ‘speed-dating’ style of networking to being more strategic by setting a goal.

What is relationship capital?
Think of it as a go-to resource bank that will allow you to draw from it should the opportunity strike. This is not to be confused with letting your contact list sit idle waiting for your contacts to magically work their charm. “It’s the difference between an “understated thank you” and a “more powerful follow through,” said Handover.

How do you make your own relationship capital warehouse?
Go back to basics: A, B, C’s (Acquire, Build and Cultivate)

So, you are eyeing a job at American Express. Your sparkling resume could elbow it out with fellow gold-star achievers. But, what if you added something extra? Matsui suggests requesting an informational interview with the company, attend industry events or maintain your LinkedIn profile and gradually Acquire a new network. It is important to have an objective for acquiring a new contact: a new job, more knowledge, support, or even a different perspective.

Once you Acquire a new contact, Build trust by following up with a note after the interview or meeting and reinforcing your desire to work for the organization.

Finally, Cultivate a two-way relationship; don’t let a good contact die. Matsui shared a story about a job applicant who made it to the final round of interviews, but was ultimately not chosen. A few days later, he asked for feedback. After a couple of months, he sent a link to an article discussed during the interview. Six months later, he contacted Matsui again updating her on his new qualifications. The next time a relevant job opened, guess whom Matsui reached out to?

Are you green, yellow, blue or red?
Knowing your communication style and recognizing another’s style, will also help you maximize networking opportunities.

Handover described four types of people: Green (Calm and informal and prefers others to initiate conversation; Yellow (Friendly and sociable and initiates conversation); Blue (Quieter, reserved and takes times to engage); Red (Direct and confident and takes charge of the conversation).

She then broke up the audience into pairs to self-assess personality types. In turned out, we can be each person, depending on the situation. Being knowledgeable about our style and another’s will help improve verbal and non-verbal communication.

Getting Better ROI on Relationship Building.
Let’s say you’re super confident and direct- a red person. If you’re talking to a more reserved, green person, tone down the ‘me, me, me’ approach. Try to listen more, be empathetic and focus on asking more questions. This will make it easier to re-connect afterwards.

Ultimately, building relationship capital is about “offering more than you ask,” said Matsui. “It takes commitment.”

About our speakers
Elizabeth HandoverElizabeth Handover
is the Lumina Learning Partner for Asia and is passionate about supporting women’s career development. As Co-Founder of the Women’s Leadership Development Center Program, she designs and facilitates transformational women’s leadership development programs. She is Co-Chair of the ACCJ Women In Business Committee and Advisor to the Global WIN Conference.

Julie MatsuiJulie Matsui manages the Training & Development group for American Express International, Inc. Japan and is responsible for providing consultation, internal coaching & training solutions as part of Human Resources Organizational Effectiveness, Talent Planning & Development. Her key areas of expertise are in senior leadership coaching & development, team effectiveness and business communication skills. She enjoys traveling, the cultural arts and especially experiencing all of the wonderful culinary delights to be found around the world.