Five Ways to Make Networking Work for You
The thought of walking into a room full of strangers can have an anxiety and stress inducing reaction to even the most experienced and successful professionals.
The good news is that making connections and building relationships with other professionals doesn’t have to be panic-inducing. With these five ways to make networking work for you, you’ll be ready to tackle the next professional event stress free!
1. Have an elevator pitch ready, but don’t memorize it.
More than likely, one of the first questions you’ll be asked is what you do. Having something prepared is helpful, so you’re not stumbling across your words. However, repeating a memorized paragraph like you’re a robot is not the most welcoming or conversational. Try picking out a few key points from your prepared ‘pitch’ and be willing to adjust as necessary.
2. Utilize social media, but make sure it’s appropriate.
Yes, platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn exist to make connections and be social. However, receiving connection requests from people you don’t know or have a mutual connection with can seem disingenuous.
3. Take the time to build a real connection.
Handing out business cards to anyone who walks by will definitely get your name out there, but it isn’t the most memorable tactic. Taking the time to build meaningful and memorable relationships with only a few individuals will get you a lot farther than a speedy style of networking. Now, more than ever, people like building genuine connections.
4. Give, give and give some more.
Make yourself useful to your connections. By asking them what they need help with, you’re not only showing your value but you’re also showing genuine interest. This desire to give will help differentiate you from others and stay top-of-mind in your network. Lastly, when you’re consistently giving, it makes a future ask even easier since you’ve been so helpful in the past.
5. Remember to follow up and consistently check in.
If you make an in-person connection, it’s vital that you reach out to them no later than the next day to thank them for their time and follow up on any additional information. Networking events are for networking which makes it easy to forget who you’ve had the pleasure of meeting – by doing a quick follow up, you’re taking one more step towards building that relationship. It’s also helpful to touch in on a consistent basis; ask if they need help with anything or if they’d be up for a quick coffee chat. Just like your non-professional connections, it’s important to keep the relationship alive and healthy.