Hi there and welcome to another exciting episode of Lounge Talk with Laz! In this week’s episode we’ll be discussing a follow-up to my previous podcast episode regarding how to network in the workplace. Let’s just jump right into it.

So, just to kind of recap on the previous podcast episode for Episode 12, I talked about the importance for networking in the digital age, in the professional world, especially for graduates trying to get their feet wet in their industry of choice.

Trying to get a job is as much about who you know compared to what you know in my mind; 30 percent of it is knowing the right people, 30 is the skills that you have, another 20 is name recognition on your resume and the final 20 percent is sheer luck. I kind of dogged on passing business cards around at events and socializing as much as possible as a traditional method at business events and place lot of emphasis towards networking in the digital realm, whether it’s on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, but after working at General Motors and kind of taking notice of how people interact with one another in the Renaissance Center, I have a different mentality in terms of networking and kind of what that means.

 

It’s All About How You Present Yourself

Lounge Talk With Laz: How to Network in the Workplace silo effect photo

I actually got the chance to sit down and talk with one of my colleagues the other day, and we discussed the mentality going into interacting with other people within our workplace on the floor. Something that stuck with me in that conversation involved the way that my colleague presents himself on the floor, whether it’s just trying to say hello to anybody who’s passing by and just kind of lightening the mood, or even just kind of leaving a mark when interacting with people that he doesn’t know on other floors going up and down elevators every day. Within the past week, I’ve been trying to say hello to everyone and anyone, whether I know them or don’t even know them, and some people, they’ll respond back and say hello back and they’ll smile and make eye contact.

And when I’m passing by other people I will say hello and they’ll completely ignore me. Like I’m kind of not even worth their time. And it’s really interesting to see that dichotomy within the workplace, whether it’s on the floor or just with other people in the Ren Cen, whether it’s on different floors, or other parts of the Ren Cen not even in my own tower. This all kind of circles back to getting a job and it’s not always about what you know, but who you know.

I’ve always thought that our floor was pretty tight-knit in terms of everyone who interacts with another in the various regions for the district digital manager program. But after this week, it’s really strange to see the dichotomy again between people who will return your pleasantries versus who just look the other direction, don’t say anything and is too buried in their phones or just kinda walking through and they don’t even want to interact with you.

 

Making The Effort To Engage With Others

Lounge Talk With Laz: How to Network in the Workplace how you present yourself photo

All it takes is two seconds to look up, make eye contact to say hello and continue on your merry way to whatever it was that you were proceeding toward or whatever you were doing.

And I started to keeping tabs as to who said hello back and who actually didn’t respond back when I would say Hello. And I would say it was about a 50-50 split. Sometimes I understand that maybe I don’t talk loud enough and they might not have heard me, but we were within maybe one foot to two foot interchange crossing paths, so it was kind of hard to believe that they didn’t hear me and they just continued walking by and I found that to be really interesting to observe and this would happen all the time to when I’d be working in sales associate positions like Gordon Food Service or Bath and Body Works.

Where you tried to say it to somebody, just make pleasantries, smile and have that positive engagement, and they would just completely ignore you and continue walking straight by you and not even give you the time of day beyond just giving a very bad impression. It also is one of the easiest ways in a workplace to create silos. In my position, we’re kind of divided up between various regions and brands, so interaction with employees or fellow co-workers isn’t as cohesive as you think would be with 110 other district digital managers on the floor as a result.

It’s kind of up to you to wander into various other regions to talk to other DDM’s, kind of hear what their process is and get feedback to strengthen your own processes and how you’re interacting with dealerships and clients, or just whatever you’re trying to do for the month be on the floor, even if you’re trying to kind of transition either laterally or move up within the company. It’s always good to talk to people if you’re on different floor, if you’re going up and down elevators, take a glance at their name tag to see who they are, just kind of spark conversation and hear about what they do in their position every day.

It’ll allow you to put a face to a name, make small talk, get to know somebody else. And when it comes time to move laterally or vertically within the company, maybe they’ll have some input or weigh in as to your bid for position on their floor or just somewhere in the company. Maybe their word will hold weight, who knows, but not making eye contact, not talking to other people or replying back, and saying hello back is a sure fire way to kind of, again, silo yourself off and just never make new connections within the workplace. This also ties into digital networking. I always make a habit of whenever I see my coworker’s posts or just any posts in general, I’m kind of a more social person than other people based on my branding initiatives and all the work I’m putting into the website, but I always try to reply back in the comments.

 

Networking and Engaging on Social Media

Lounge Talk With Laz: How to Network in the Workplace connecting on social media photo

I’ll always leave thoughtful comments on social media posts, and sometimes I just never get any engagement back. I would say that out of the posts that I comment on, maybe 50 percent of the users will reply back and the other half won’t. Or if they do reply back, it’ll be within the span of a week or two. And the engagement just isn’t there or it’s not the same and it just leaves a bad impression when you don’t even talk to your fellow co-worker in the workplace. And if you’re connected on LinkedIn or Facebook or Instagram and you leave that thoughtful comment or you’re trying to engage and interact and they don’t even respond back or even give you the time of day, it just leaves a bad impression or a bad taste in your mouth. And it promotes that soloing in the workplace and it’s kind of counter-productive to the company culture, where we’re all kind of one team and yet we’re all kind of pursuing our jobs in this individualistic culture outlook, so to speak.

So my key takeaways from all of this in my rambling here in this podcast would be to just interact with people, be genuine, make those connections, and if you have the opportunity to follow up on social media and to strengthen that connection, whether it’s outside of the workplace or after hours on social media, where you’re just leaving thoughtful comments or just getting some insight into how a person is in their personal life. We have this kind of dichotomy between our personal lives in their work lives and getting the knows someone beyond what we portray in our work lives is a good way to build and strength that relationship and that connection. And that’s all the time I have stayed here next week for another exciting episode of the latest and greatest in digital marketing and social media news.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out next week’s episode of Lounge Talk With Laz where I explore earned media value and the golden rule for engagement.

Equipment That I Use For Podcasting

Here’s the microphone, shock mount, mic stand and accessories that I use to record my podcasts every week:

Audio-Technica ATR 2100 Dynamic Mic: https://amzn.to/2GwPLwy

Mic Arm and Wind Screen: https://amzn.to/2Ld9LYF

Pop Filter: https://amzn.to/2Lda0Tz

Sennheiser HD 598 SR Openback Headphones: https://amzn.to/2IzdaPu