Networking Is A Contact Sport

Fellow Wisconsinite Joe Sweeney has authored a remarkable, hands-on, “how to” book Networking is A Contact Sport with the subtext: How Staying Connected and Serving Others Will Help You Grow Your Business, Expand Your Influence – Or Even Land Your Next Job.  Like a similar tretis by Tommy Spaulding in It’s Just Not Who You Know, author Sweeney guarantees that if you follow his “5/10/15” program outlined in his book for 80 business days, you will get at least one job offer or he’ll refund the purchase price of the book, and pay you $250 check or a  one-hour coaching session with Joe which equates to a $500 value.

Sweeney, a sports management maven who was the initial marketing agent for Brett Favre has entertaining and pertinent stories about how to succeed in business and procure a new job by persistence and perseverence.  One of his most enthralling anecdotes was how he was able to get Bob Costas, NBC Sports and MLB Network Announcer to participate in a Wisconsin Hall of Fame Dinner back in 1995. 

In true Wisconsin form, Sweeney persevered by sending a case of brats, special Milwaukee County Stadium Sauce and a personal letter from Governor Tommy Thompson in an on-going attempt to persuade the sports broadcasting icon to participate in the event.   Needless to say, the event was a success because of Costas and also impresses all that you should never take no for an answer.

Sweeney’s philosophy of networking is based on his “5/10/15 program” which means every business day you should have 5 meetings, 10 written communications and 15 phone calls to improve your networking results.  The author will be the first to admit that meetings these days can take place on the phone or via “go to meeting” type formats while written correspondence in this decade usually means e-mails and social media.

“I believe networking gives you the confidence to interact with others, teaches resiliency, and helps you to overcome challenges in life.  The concept of engaging others with an attitude of giving, not getting, will enrich your relationships.”

Sweeney also believes in 4 techniques that one should use to perfect their networking:

1)  Ask – learn how to ask good questions

2)  Listen – listen actively, listen attentively

3)  Take Action – be the person who always follows up and follows through

4)  Believe and Receive – have faith in yourself and what you are doing

There are many different ways of emphasizing it, and many authors have written timely books on the subject but the bottomline is that when you are in job search mode it has to be a full-time job.  Of course there are rare occasions that a job will fall in your lap but the vast majority of job searches are lengthy and painful and takes much effort and fortitude.  Though it is difficult to be in the best frame of mind every minute of every day, it does behoove a job seeker to use this opportunity in life to improve techniques, become better at what you do and to meet new people through a planned and thought-out networking approach.

We all need a good shove in the back on occasion.  Motivation is not a 24/7 lifestyle approach for all of us.   If we are to succeeed rather than just get lucky, we need to be enthralled with our dailly plan.  I recently told a class of university students at a entrepreneur program that “if you are not jumping out of bed each morning, excited about your next 16 hours or so that you are in the wrong job or the wrong business.”  I am now living by my own credo and looking for a new daily regimin that will excite me and make me be content with my actions and deeds.

For too long, many of us have been content with our place in life because in these trying economic times we should be happy to have a job.  That attitude is very true, but it is now time with times apparently improving to forge forward and find that one opportunity that is waiting for just the right person.  Joe Sweeney’s approach to networking is just one more means to that end and we would be foolish not to embrace it – especially since it has a money-back guarantee.


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