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How I discovered a Radically Different Approach to Networking in the Army

Networking with Enthusiasm… it’s a skill you can hone. Especially if you do it RIGHT.


Does the word “networking” spark an automatic response that is anything less than keen, or comfortable?


Totally understandable, if so.


Meeting strangers — especially in the context of work — is uncomfortable for most people – even for extroverts, like me. Many people struggle with a form of performance anxiety when it comes to networking.


You’re afraid you might say the wrong thing, forget what you were going to say, or stumble over your words. The result would be the other person not liking you, or the source of all our fears: rejection.


But it is essential. We MUST undo this reflexive notion, this fear. Because, like it or not, networking is a great advantage. It creates our luck and buoys our well-being – so we have to find a way to transcend this.


So, today I want to talk to you about how I figured out a way to network that doesn’t suck, and which does not feel like a “hustle.” It was something I accidentally learned in the army, during basic training. Before I tell you what it is, let me tell you what’s in this for you/ why you should read on:



Success, and Connection.


There is a remarkable payoff for those who embrace networking and do it right. In fact, research featured recently in Harvard Business Review shows that people with stronger networks end up with 79% higher salaries, and more promotions. That makes sense. After all, it’s a simple equation:

• Networking builds RELATIONSHIPS.

• Relationships determine your potential access to opportunities.

• More opportunities = greater shot at success (growth, expansion, dynamism…call it whatever you like).


You want success, right?


Well, you should. In fact, this should become a must for you and if it does – THAT is what will make you successful.


It’s when you go from “meh, maybe I want more?” to I WANT MORE PERIOD.


So, mastering networking has nothing to do with behavior style, and has to do only with your desire. Now, I cannot manufacture that desire for you but I can tell you – both as an effective networker and as a teacher of, among other things, the art of networking, that you will get more than just “success.” Networking is a key to emotional wellbeing, too – because it is about human connections.


In this spirit here’s the radical reversal that helped me reframe networking, and can serve you, too:

Don’t aim BROADLY, aim DIRECTLY.


When I was in Basic Training for my military service, part of the mandatory bootcamp curriculum was learning how to handle a semi-automatic weapon. I learned how to assemble and disassemble an Uzi (I know, how old school, right?) and how to aim and shoot. Being extremely averse to anything of this sort and, sadly, an easily distractible teenager at the time, I did not take practice very seriously and at one point, after finding target shooting difficult, and then asked: would it be OK if I just fire as much as possible and see what happened?


The commander stopped me right there. She pointed out that if I did, not only would I imperil myself and everyone around me, but that there was no way this would ever hit a target, unless by complete accident. Far more efficient, she taught me, was to size up the distance, aim with most precision (there are ways to do this, to adjust your sight), and shoot without wasting time, energy or – God forbid – without wasting precious life.


Many years later, I found networking the way my coaches were teaching me to network – and how to sell – awfully reminiscent of my initial, instinctive and adolescent idea about how to hit a target. It just felt like the main essence of their teachings was “fire as much and as often as possible, and see what sticks.” But I already knew too much. I knew heeding their advice would not only stick the landing, but imperil my wellbeing. Even with a carefully identified audience, an approach that is all tactics and maneuvers and no strategy and consideration is going to backfire.


This is what had me turn from facing the vast ocean before me, and head instead towards the clear and lovely pond in my backyard. It directed me at people and institutions whom I already know and love, and who already know and trust me, at least to a certain degree. And it is this approach that has guided me these past 7 years. It is what made lifting the business off the ground, 7 years ago, so successful, and what accounts for our ongoing success. With Enthusiasm knows our clientele extremely well, stays in touch, regularly adds value and expands only from that core. We started small, in warm and familiar waters and went deep. That’s all. To this day, I do not do outreach beyond this newsletter, and have run barely any advertising. And yet, I have worked with over 1,000 private clients in 7 years, including 2 dozen blue chip companies – some of the biggest brands on the planet.


I did this – I even got here – without ever cold emailing anyone, saying: “hi, I’m Keren, I swear I’m a good coach.”


How, EXACTLY, you ask?


By doing what I am about to teach you.


In the rest of this newsletter, I am going to impart part of an exercise I have taught once and again in seminars and keynotes all over the world, including last week, at J.P. Morgan.


It’s called the “Dream 20.” The “Dream 20” is a highly focused, non-icky prospecting method. It relies on warm contacts and connections, not cold. It is specific and deep, not general and shallow. It goes like this:


Head into your main contacts (email, Insta, Linkedin… you do you).


First – identify the “core” of your list, and this will be the basis for many “Dream 20s.” To know what the number is, exactly, watch this 1-minute Coach Tip VideoUltimate Coaching Hack for people Who Hate Networking




Next -from within that already narrowed down list, write down 20 names of contacts, connections, and connectors that can be excellent for your business and career, whom you know. This includes all WARM connections, but also – critically – your Warm and DORMANT connections – people who already know you but you have not seen in a while. I believe the majority of adult relationships fall into this category. No biggie – just awaken them, that’s all!


A warm and dormant connection, according to Marissa King, researcher at Yale, is 9 times more likely to respond to your outreach than someone who has never met you. So why do we not ping them more? Embarrassment? Worry? I would get over that. Most people love hearing you were thinking of them and if they once liked you, probably still do. And you do, too! Don’t you want to dive back into your deep discussions about Seinfeld?


 I am ALWAYS down to talk about Seinfeld!


I know I do, which makes this list and then the art of reaching out to everyone on it a joy. Sure, it does not “close deals” directly, but what does? What it does achieve is getting you a response 30-50% of the time, based on my experience, and a long-term, expandable, and consistent road to cultivating contacts that will inform and connect you further and further, gradually and eventually hitting your mark – with the added bonus of enlivened friendships, and YOUR chance to serve THEM, too. That’s my idea of networking with enthusiasm.



Did this resonate with you? I hope so.


If your organization and team could use some insights on how to shake up the team’s energy, luck and dynamism within the brilliant opportunity we all have when we get to share a physical office, check out the talk, “Network with Enthusiasm,” and join us to explore how this track can serve you, by scheduling a time to talk (you can book through the link above).


And if you personally loved this newsletter, and have been searching for ways to become more visible and gain real traction and luck in your business, consider networking just one of the things that will get you there. What will take you all the way is private executive coachingSchedule your consult today.



Hope to see you soon, To your success,

Coach Keren

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