Acute Self-Awareness to Change Thoughts / Habits

So I get lots of clients that come in and they talk to me because they are just not connected to their work. I get it, it’s my purpose. My purpose is to help people experience fulfillment through the work they do. Hello, hello, it’s Christopher Lawrence. I am filming from my office today at Change My Life Coaching. I should show you my cool green wall, Professional Coaching and Consulting Centre. Life, leadership and … Read more

How to Make Networking a Little Less Uncomfortable

Word Count: 1071 Approximate Reading Time: 4 to 4.5 minutes

Networking is not a new concept; it has been around for as long as most of us remember. I strongly believe that networking is critical to long-term career success. While the stereotypical reactions is that networking is a phony and often, exploitive exercise that people only engage in to benefit themselves or their businesses. While, in some cases, this is true, networking is also so much more than that.

What is Networking Exactly?

Networking is more than a simple exchange of information between two people. It is about establishing a relationship with people who will become your colleagues, partners, and often, your friends. A networking contact may be able to help you advance in your career, create important business or personal connections, and provide inside information in your industry or field of industry that can help with a job search.

Why should I be networking?

Research is piling up that show the benefits of networking and the importance of professional networks in career growth, job transitions, and increased business activities. While you often hear that many people don’t like networking (including some executives and leaders), it is a necessity in today’s hyper-connected world.

Change Your Mind Set About Networking – It’s not the Schmooze-fest of the business films of the ‘90s

It helps to think of networking as learning. By thinking of making new connections as an opportunity to understand more about your field, the other person’s role, or in fairness, just getting to know a new person can help. By focusing on learning something new, it can pique our curiosity, create excitement, and increase your positivity towards this activity. Focusing on the positive benefits you can gain from meeting new people tends to help you feel more authentic and have an easier time making genuine connections. Attitude, as always, is essential in making the most of anything. By approaching networking with a perspective of positive learning, any connection, however little, will add value to your life.

But, what if I’m shy, an introvert, or feel plain awkward?

Unfortunately, being shy or an introvert isn’t the golden note to get you out of that awkward swim class, but there are some things you can do to make networking a little more comfortable. But the first thing is just to get out there. Usually, the worst-case scenarios we like to tell ourselves don’t come true, and you end up feeling okay and that maybe it wasn’t so bad. Well, the more you do that, the easier it will become. Some of the most successful leaders are well-known introverts. Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, JK Rowling, Hilary Clinton, and even Meryl Streep, a renowned and incredibly talented actor, all consider themselves introverts. All have had to network to become the legends they each are in their fields.

So, start with what you know – chances are you will have more in common than you think. Don’t apologize for being quiet or shy, it is okay to be you. Say the person’s name, it is a great way to break the ice and show that you are listening, making the initial conversation easier. And lastly, smile. A smile goes a long way in creating connections.  This small but powerful tool in a human’s arsenal can disarm even the ‘toughest’ character. Next time you are walking down the street, smile at a stranger, the majority of times, people smile back. If you are shy, a smile can be your best friend.

Tips and Tricks

To get you started on networking, here are a few tricks and tools.

  1. Figure out what style works best for you, everyone is different. While you may need to leave your comfort zone for a bit, you need to figure out what method works best for you. For introverts, it might be a one-on-one coffee or events with fewer attendees. For extroverts, you may enjoy a large conference or mix n’ mingle type events.
  2. Network outside your usual contact list. The idea is to meet new contacts and to do this, you will have to step outside the box. Some ideas for networking contacts are professional chapters, business groups, entrepreneurial groups, or your old alma mater.
  3. Next, make a game plan and get out there, take that first step, start slow if you need to.
  4. When you first meet a new contact, learn about the person you are talking with – their company, their role, a little bit about them – ask questions (don’t be too nosy) and take the time to show your interest in them
  5. Givers gain. What does this mean? Simply put, those who give also receive. Think not only about what you are looking for but also how you can be of help. Relationships are two-way streets, and building trust is essential to a constructive and genuine partnership, friendship, or any sort of relationship.
  6. Their network. By chatting a bit and asking questions, you will get a better understanding of how that person can help and how their network can help. And yes, this will eventually expand your own network, which is a great compound effect!
  7. Networking profile. A great tool is the networking profile. Similar, but much more simple than a CV, it is a sheet or card that you can leave with a potential contact that contains the following:
    1. Pic
    2. Name and Email
    3. Your objective
    4. Provide three to five highlights about yourself – think of these of selling points or ways that you can also help someone else or something you want to highlight about yourself to a new network
    5. A list of three to five people or areas you are looking to network with that clearly shows someone what you are looking for in an easy to read (think bullet points) format
  8. Leave the door open. Provide an easy way to contact you or a reason for you to contact them. Provide a business card (if you have one) or exchange numbers. If you offered help and it was accepted, make plans to discuss the next steps.

Bottom Line

While networking can be nerve-wracking, it doesn’t have to be. Making a game plan, understanding what works best for you, and reaching out with the intent to establish a two-way relationship will go a long way in helping to create meaningful connections and help you become more comfortable stepping out.

Christopher is the Chief Value Officer and Founder of Change My Life Coaching and Co-Founder of Change My Business Coaching and the Healthy Transformations Weight Loss & Inflammation Reduction Program.  Change my Life Coaching is a fast growing whole-life, leadership and business coaching company, and the only one of it’s kind.  He is also the author of “Go Beyond Passion: Discover Your Dream Job”. Christopher spent 15+ years working in the corporate world with a plethora of industries and companies. His focus was primarily in planning, strategy, and leadership of change management and communication. Christopher is a Certified Master Coach Practitioner (CMCP), trainer and facilitator, and a passionate public speaker who truly cares about the success of each and every single person he comes into contact with. You can reach him at clawrence@ChangeMyLifeCoaching.ca.

Passion Without Purpose Yields The Worst Results

Word Count: 1002 words Approximate Read Time: Approximately 3.5 to 4 minutes Passion without purpose. Purpose without passion. It doesn’t work. You need both for a truly fulfilling life and career. But most people tend to focus on passion. Passion is exciting, vibrant, and thrilling. Purpose sounds necessary, but as a chore, but it is so much more than that; it’s the foundation of a fulfilling and satisfying life. While passion is an excellent starter, it … Read more

Don’t Fake It Till You Make It: That’s Garbage Advice

Approximate Reading Time: 4.5 minutes Word Count: 1191 words You might be thinking, what does he mean? Why would I want to act like I don’t know what I’m doing? The adage ‘fake it till you make it’ is everywhere. A quick internet search pulls up numerous TED talks, business speeches, and articles from reputable media outlets, all advocating the benefits. It’s no wonder that many of us think acting in this way will help … Read more

The Power of ‘Yes’ versus ‘Yeah

Word Count: 1009 Reading Time: Approximately 4 minutes Shrug off the yeahs – there are not sincere. This is your world. In your world, there is only yes! Jolene Stockman Ummm… but they mean the same thing, don’t they? Well, I thought so – until I noticed that saying ‘Yes’’ received better results than saying ‘Yeah.’ It’s easy to believe that ‘yes’ and ‘yeah’ imply the same thing; it’s simply not true. But this actualization didn’t … Read more

Why You Must Maintain a Positive Mindset during Your Career Search

Reading Time: 3 to 4 minutes Word Count: 961 Positivity Matters Searching for a job can be frustrating, especially when you’ve heard ‘no’ a little too often, and it isn’t set to change anytime soon. With progressively difficult recruitment processes and increased AI usage, it’s becoming more competitive, and it can be easy to think, “What’s the point?!” In fairness, organizations only want the best for their business. However, the fact remains that this has, in … Read more

Asking for a Raise: Everything You NEED to Know

Reading Time: 3 to 4 minutes Word Count: 874 words Asking for a raise can be super unnerving. I’m not shy, but the thought of approaching a leader for a raise used to make me break out in a cold sweat. I thought that if I deserved a raise or promotion, my leaders would recognize this and act accordingly. As you can imagine, this didn’t get me too far. I realized to progress, I would … Read more

SCREW PASSION the Biggest Fraud in Career Discovery

SCREW PASSION the Biggest Fraud in Career Discovery “You can do anything as long as you have the passion,” but I say screw this quote, not only is it misleading, it is incorrect especially for those seeking to pursue a successful career life. Before delving into this all too controversial topic, its best to define the keywords as this will give us a sense of direction and help us understand better the message being passed … Read more

Ten Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Life Coach

Ten Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Life Coach Everyone needs a coach, no matter who you are or what you are into, we all need someone who can help you bring out the best in you. It has been discovered that people who surround themselves with positively minded individuals tend to have a better quality of life both emotionally, physically, and in all spheres of life. This is not all; having a life coach … Read more

What will you do for Work when AI and Robots Take Over?

As Artificial Intelligence and robots continue to become more crucial in the workplace, employees face a daunting challenge of figuring how to cope with the significant changes that will most definitely accompany automation. Automation is no longer a fairy tale or some impossible dream, it’s happening faster than you think. So it’s critical to prepare yourself for the immense changes that are sure to occur. Interestingly, researchers from McKinsey estimate that more than 45% of current jobs can be automated. There is an urgent need for employees to start preparing themselves for the inevitable future of AI and Robots. AI and Robots will be significant in everyone’s future job.  Unfortunately, several organizations today are not prepared for such a significant transition. In fact, advanced data analytics and digitization has already brought about a significant gap between the skills people have and skills required by organizations. This gap in skills will not even compare to the substantial changes that automation will bring about. Although, no one can accurately predict what will happen in the future, however there are a specific changes that is expected to take place. Here are just a few.

Workers will be displaced: According to data from McKinsey, some jobs will experience significant decline by 2030. While some workers will be displaced. It is estimated that about 15 percent of the global workforce or about 400 million workers could be displaced by automation by 2030. Based on this estimates, the figure could potentially rise to about 30 percent, or 800 million workers. In our slowest adoption scenario, only about 10 million people would be displaced, close to zero percent of the global workforce

More Jobs would be created. At the same time, more jobs will be gained. As workers are displaced, there will be concurrent increase in demand for work. It is projected that there will be an income growth and increased investment in energy, infrastructure, deployment and technology development. These could translate to about an additional labor demand rising to 33 percent of the global workforce (890 million jobs). This will no doubt compensate for the number of workers displaced. If history is to be relied on, technology has always been a net job creator. So many jobs that we cannot imagine will be created. Think about the introduction of personal computer in the 1970s and 1980s. This invention lead to the creation of several jobs not just for software and app developers but for semiconductor makers, information analysts, customer-service representatives etc.

Jobs will experience significant changes. As jobs are lost or created, more will be changed as automation becomes more prevalent. As machines complement human labor expect to see some changes in the workplace. For example, some jobs that requires repetitive tasks could shift to a model that manages and troubleshoot automated systems. Amazon is already adopting automation as employees that previously haul and stacked objects are now trained to operate robots, monitoring the automated arms and resolving issues that interrupts the process. In the healthcare sector, AI algorithms that can accurately read diagnostic scans will help doctors with diagnosis and identify suitable treatment. Regardless of the industry, virtually all occupations will be somewhat affected by automation, but it has been estimated that only about 5 percent of the current occupations could be fully automated by currently demonstrated technologies. It is expected that as workers learn to work with rapidly evolving machines, the nature of most of the occupations will experience significant changes.

KEY WORKFORCE TRANSITIONS AND CHALLENGES

Although it is expected that there will be enough work to ensure full employment in the coming decades based on recent estimates, still there will be significant transition as automation becomes fully adopted. There will be changes in most occupations and these changes will be accompanied with new skills and educational requirements. The scope will be redesigned to ensure a smooth integration between humans and machines. Workers will need a set of new skills to thrive in the workplace of the future. Automation will bring about an accelerated shift in skills required in the workplace. There will be increased demand for advanced technological skills such as programming and coding as well as a greater need for cognitive skills such as critical thinking, creativity and complex information processing. Basic digital skills has been in increased demand and this trend is expected to continue in the future. It is predicted that the demand for manual and physical skills will experience significant decline, but will still remain the largest employer for labor in several countries. There will be additional pressure on the already existing workforce-skills challenge, as such it’s imperative for employees to start preparing themselves for this enormous changes. Displaced workers will probably have the opportunity to get retrained and utilize their skillset elsewhere. These individuals could potentially re-skill or build on their existing skills and find work in a different occupation. Even for employees that are not at risk for being displaced should strive to expand their skills.

It is common to people to switch between jobs today, so that could be an avenue for individuals to expand their skillsets. Employees should prepare themselves by taking advantage of online courses, industry seminars and community college classes to expand their skills and even get relevant certifications in new areas. Interestingly several companies are already providing re-skilling and training for their employees. It is recommended that more companies and governments parastatals do the same in a bid to address the challenges that will be brought about by automation.  Rather than seeking to roll back the adoption of automation, focus should be on seeking practical ways to ensure that the workforce transitions are as smooth as possible. These can be achieved through a number of ways. For instance, policy makers working with education providers and employers could seek out practical ways to improve basic STEM skills. This could be achieve through school systems and on-the-job training. Emphasis should be placed on critical and system thinking, creativity and adaptive and life-long learning. There should be significant investment in Human capital – investing in worker training is critical if this is to be accomplished. Policy makers through tax benefits and other incentives can encourage organizations to invest in their employees. This will include providing on the job training, capacity building and wage growth.

THE FUTURE OF WORK CHALLENGE

Work in the future will be different, require new skillset and a far greater adaptability that the workforce has never seen. Training and re-skilling both midcareer workers and new generations to prepare for these future challenges will be an imperative. The future with robots and AI will be challenging, but it will be a much richer one if we harness the technologies with aplomb—and work hard to mitigate the negative effects. More is involved than just focusing on re-training and re-skillinginstead employers should focus on lifelong employability. These involves continually helping employees to successfully adapt as the economy evolves. This will ensure employees remain employable and relevant and at the same time employers have the continuous presence of skilled workers they need in an organization.

REFERENCES

https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/future-of-work/competitive-advantage-with-a-human-dimensi…

 

https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/future-of-work/globalization-robots-and-universal-basic-i…

 

https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/future-of-work/how-google-dot-org-is-helping-workers-prep…

 

https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/artificial-intelligence/the-promise-and-challenge-of-the-…

 

 

Christopher is the Chief Value Officer and Founder of Change My Life Coaching and Co-Founder of Change My Business Coaching and the Healthy Transformations Weight Loss & Inflammation Reduction Program.  Change my Life Coaching is a fast growing whole-life, leadership and business coaching company, and the only one of it’s kind.  He is also the author of “Go Beyond Passion: Discover Your Dream Job”. Christopher spent 15+ years working in the corporate world with a plethora of industries and companies. His focus was primarily in planning, strategy, and leadership of change management and communication. Christopher is a Certified Master Coach Practitioner (CMCP), trainer and facilitator, and a passionate public speaker who truly cares about the success of each and every single person he comes into contact with. You can reach him at Christopher@ChangeMyLifeCoaching.ca.