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Networking is important for advancing your business or career. It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, knowing how to successfully network can be a very valuable tool. And guess what - everyone can do it—even those that call themselves introverts!
Networking isn’t a number’s game. It’s about making meaningful connections. It’s also so important to know that networking can happen anywhere!! Most people think it only happens in professional settings, but that is a myth. Wherever there are new faces, there are new networking opportunities for you.
I’ve curated a list of tips, or should I say the Dos and Don'ts, for successfully networking.
Do value quality over quantity. Attend an event with the intention of making a select few meaningful connections instead of building a huge list of names and never follow up with any of them.
Do determine how you can help others. Networking is about sharing your unique perspective and professional value. What do you do better than anyone else? How can you solve a problem someone else is struggling with? Do you have experience with something that could help someone promote themselves? You might be surprised what skill you have that could help others.
Figure out what your talents, strengths, and skill sets are. This is what you can bring to the table for the connections you make. Be friendly and honest with the people you talk to. Also be sure you are able to share what you do in 60 seconds.
Do ask questions and listen. You need to show genuine interest in others’ lives. You could find small nuggets of wisdom sprinkled in their stories that could help you in your career path.
Do make yourself a consistent and reliable source, even after the networking event. If a connection comes to you with a problem, try to help them find a solution. This will give you a chance to show off your expertise or more importantly the breath of experts you have access to and the value you can bring to the table. You’ll become more valuable to your connections this way.
MailChimp can be a great resource to help you keep up with your connections as well. You can create an email list that will keep your connections up to date on what you're doing and how they can get involved! You can check MailChimp out here.
Do see value in everyone you meet. You never know where a connection could lead you. One connection could become crucial down the line.
Don’t attempt to speedrun networking. You’ll only get out what you put in. Slow down and listen to others. Show interest in who they are and the stories they tell. Simply handing out your business cards, QR codes, or one pagers are not enough. If that is all you do, those items will be folded away and you’ll be forgotten.
If you leave an event only having made one or two meaningful connections, that is still a success. It doesn’t mean you didn't maximize your time. Even making one meaning connection makes the process of networking worthwhile.
Also remember to keep up contact information for the people you meet in an online tool that help you organize and set up tasks, such as reminders to reconnect. For example, after I have a networking opportunity, once I get back to my office, either I or someone on my team, enters that contact information into a tool like Honeybook, along with a task to follow up within two weeks. When the contact is added, there is a note included to say where I met the person and when. This helps when I follow up to mention where we met to help the person also remember they connection.
Honeybook has so many features that can help you with your networking skills and help you keep up with your connections!
Don’t view others as a link to their famous friends or coworkers. This will only portray you as desperate. Be genuine with your networking because people can see right through a facade. Also, when meeting someone for the 1st first time you don't have to tell them your whole life story.
Don’t only talk about yourself. You’ll come off as self-centered. You should be comfortable with filling the student role, especially at the start of your career. Networking is about getting to know someone else. It’s not an opportunity to drone on and on about your experiences.
Don’t let your connections become one sided. Put in effort into sustaining these connections. Follow up and follow through.
Don’t dismiss anyone as unimportant depending on their job title or where they work. Discover the value in each person you encounter. It costs nothing to be friendly and the small amount of effort you put into a connection could open you up to new opportunities.
It's also important to make sure you take care of yourself as you manage your business or try to get new connections. Here are some tips you can use to make sure you're taking care of yourself so you can bring the best version of yourself to your business and networking events!
These tips with guide you well when it comes to networking. There are connections everywhere you go. Use these tips to help you get the clients, partners, or new job you may want. Never miss an opportunity!
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