By Guest Blogger Haynes Hendrickson, President, Turnkey Intelligence
I believe the volume of email messages, texts, instant messages, direct messages, Tweets, Facebook tags, etc. that we’re inundated with today has led us to a world of less sincere and less genuine communication. This goes beyond firing off a quick digital message commenting on a post or tweet – now, those platforms will actually pre-generate the content for you. LinkedIn will allow you to congratulate a contact on a new job with one click, without even having to type “Congratulations!”. I see individuals write HBD on a friend’s Facebook wall in place of “Happy Birthday”. Have we really become that busy? Yes, digital communication has allowed us to stay in contact with MANY more friends, colleagues and family than ever before… but it has also diminished our aptitude for sincere and thoughtful communication.
I interact with many undergraduate and graduate students looking for career advice as they prepare to enter the working world. I recommend and challenge them to do two things: Ask and Thank. I tell them to never stop asking others about their careers, their perspectives, their advice, their feedback. All of this must be done in a genuine way – don’t ask if you aren’t prepared to listen. This is Networking 101, and it needs to be part of your standard operating procedure. Secondly, I tell them to thank everyone they come in contact with along the way. Thank the admin who helped you secure time with an executive, thank the vendor who completed the project as asked. Your career is long and the sports industry is small. Showing others that you are appreciative of their time and perspective will pay dividends.
Ask and Thank have served me well in my 21 years in sports. I constantly challenge myself to pick up the phone and hand-write a note instead of typing an email where appropriate. The value of a hand-written note is greater now than it has ever been – in our time constrained world, it shows genuine thought and effort.
Ask and Thank won’t generate likes, RTs or follows, but they will grow your personal network and, likely, your career.