The internet and social media have transformed the ways in which we do business today but some things never change. Relationship building is at the heart of networking and is more important than ever.
With Facebook, Linked In, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and other means of connecting, the face-to-face encounter serves a greater purpose. Networking necessitates interaction. Those interpersonal skills combined with emotional intelligence are often proven to be as important as having the perfect resume.
Networking is about creating relationships and not about selling. Put the needs of the other person first and try to figure out how you can help them through introductions to others, by sharing best practices or telling them about something relevant to their needs. Once you’ve made that personal connection, then follow up digitally using LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or other social media platforms. This allows you to continue to reach out with links, articles or messages you think might be of interest to particular individuals or group connections. Don’t wait until you need something to connect, no one likes a fair weather friend.
As Maya Angelou so aptly said: “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
Quick tips for staying connected:
Take quick notes on the back of business cards that will help you follow up later.
Ask good questions when meeting people. The only way to get to know someone is by asking questions.
If you see an article that might be of interest to someone, share it with them.
Use LinkedIn to acknowledge work anniversaries or birthdays.
Follow through after meeting someone by inviting them to join you on LinkedIn.
Make sure your body reflects your genuine interest. Make eye contact, nod and smile in agreement when appropriate.
Agism is one of the remaining prejudices that go largely unchallenged in the 21st Century. Television and film often depict older adults as out of touch or mentally deteriorating. Unfortunately, these misperceptions can carry through to real life.
Ageism is one of the remaining prejudices that go largely unchallenged in the 21st Century. Television and film often depict older adults as out of touch or mentally deteriorating. Unfortunately, these misperceptions can carry through to real life. Debunking these myths with facts is one of the first steps towards reducing ageism and getting to the truth about growing older.
Myth #1 Boomers take jobs away from younger generations.
Known as the “lump of labour fallacy” by economists, this false belief promotes the idea that the number of jobs in an economy is fixed. Evidence shows, however, that keeping older people in the workforce is associated with improved employment for younger people. When older people continue to work, they enjoy the benefits of having more money to spend boosting the economy, which in turn creates jobs for everyone.
Myth #2 The expiry date on productivity is 65. Older workers have less to offer as they age.
There is no relationship between age and job performance according to academic studies when it comes to productivity. In fact, experience is proven to give older adults the performance edge.
Myth #3 Younger entrepreneurs are more successful than older ones.
Research shows that not only do more older people start businesses but that these businesses are more successful on average.
The average and median age of US born tech founders was 39 when they started their companies. Twice as many were older than 50 as were younger than 25.
From 1996-2007, those between the ages of 55-64 had a higher rate of entrepreneurial activity than their counterparts aged 20-34. Evidence proves that they are also more successful.
Myth #4 If time is taken off after retirement, it’s impossible to get back into the workforce
Approximately 40% of those who retire tend to take a break for 2 years and then return. The reason for returning to work is not always out of financial need but for the purpose of maintaining social interactions and keeping minds sharp.
62% of workers aged 65 and older are full time, up from 44% in 1995.
Myth #5 Boomers are unable to find decent jobs.
This cohort of baby boomers are succeeding at finding jobs with better pay, status and working conditions than older workers of generations in the past.
Harvey Sterns, Journal of Vocational Behavior Volume 47, Issue 3, December 1995, Pages 248-268
Agism can impact who you know, what you do and how you do it. Here are some tips for identifying and managing ageism.
The effects of agism on businesses can range from lost productivity, lost potential and lost workers. The effects on directly impacted workers can include negative social, psychological and economic outcomes. In short, ageism harms us all.
What is agism?
Agism is stereotyping and discrimination on the basis of a person’s age. It is one of the last “isms” left to eradicate. It is isolating, alienating, damaging to a sense of purpose and general well-being and it has also been proven to shorten lives.
Agism applies equally to the belief that one might be “too young” to do something but in our western, youth-obsessed society, the “too old” are typically those that get short shrift.
Examples of agism
Getting fired from a job because of age.
Being turned down for car or travel insurance or being refused an interest free credit card due to age.
Receiving poor service in a store because of the management’s attitude towards older people.
Being rejected for membership in a club or association because of age.
Although agism is frustrating it can be managed. Here are a few tips for combatting ageism.
Enjoy your age. By embracing yourself you set a positive attitude and example for others to follow. The first step to acceptance, for anyone, is accepting yourself.
Take opportunities to be part of intergenerational activities. Over the last few years, we have seen an increasing level of segregation by age. It is an unhealthy approach for all of us, both economically and emotionally and is one of the central contributors to agism.
Don't use age to tease. Avoid "funny" jokes that talk about being over the hill or being past prime or other negative language such as, "senior moments".
Watch your language. By continually referencing the differences between your age and others you could inadvertently reinforce bias. For instance, expressions like, "back in my day..." imply that your day is over.
Don't accept agism. If someone uses agist language or references on you, then call them on it. Suggest alternatives or tell them that you would prefer they not reference you that way.
The Top 60 over 60, works to eradicate agism, recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of older adults. Intergenerational learning and collaboration are at the heart of what we do.