Networking - A Must Do!
Networking strikes fear in people almost as much as visiting the dentist! However, for each of us to grow our network both personally and professional it is absolutely necessary. I have found it very interesting at times to find out someone I needed to meet was only few degrees of separation from me. By keeping it simple, I find that there is far less stress in networking and fewer things to remember. Here are five key points that help.
- Have a goal!
Enter every situation with a goal to get to know at least three new contacts. Three is manageable and it is far less stressful than trying to connect to “as many people as possible.” Always opt for quality over quantity. Plus the more you get out there and network, the easier it will be.
- Go Prepared!
Sure your business cards and a mint or two is important (no gum, please!), but know more about the crowd you are connecting with at the event. Can you get a list of the attendees? If so, look over it in advance. Set targets of who you want to meet and then be focused in order to achieve your goals. Be well read, if only for that day, so that you have some interesting conversation starters!
- Introduce Yourself!
…and make it interesting! Sure you may be a tax accountant, but you can jazz that up a bit. Or, if you are a salesperson, can’t you find a better way to describe what you do? Of course you can! Make it interesting and be interested in what others do as well.
- Leave fear at the door!
Some people can’t do it! So, if you see that person who is a bit standoffish or quiet, introduce yourself. You never know who they know or who they are connected to. Plus they will always be appreciative of you stepping up.
- Follow up is key!
Don’t let too many days pass before you follow up. Remember to utilize social media such as LinkedIn to connect to them in addition to sending an email or note. I would suggest within three days.
Before you know it, you will be networking like the pros. The more you do it, the easier it gets. For some it will always feel a little like going to the dentist, but the pain can certainly be lessened by practicing these five steps each time you have a networking opportunity. So get out there…and network!