A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about 5 easy and natural ways to network for #boss women who want to build new relationships in an organic way. One of the ways I mentioned to do this was to build your network before you actually need it. This way it wouldn't seemed phony or forced when you are reaching out to your contact to help with a job search, introducing you to a key person, etc. It's always easier to build a relationship with someone when you aren't asking for favors from the beginning.
I received a few questions after I wrote the article on how to actually spark a new relationship and build your network.
Here are 8 great ways to excel at the game of networking:
- Be authentic. This should go without saying, but hey - I've said it anyway. No one wants to build a relationship with someone who comes off as fake and insincere.
- Be prepared to exchange contact information. Seems obvious, right? But I can't tell you how many times I've been in situations where I've just met someone in person and they don't have a business card to give to me or a thorough email signature online. How do I get in contact with you, honey?
- Own the room (or meeting, conversation, lunch, etc). No matter what type of networking situation you are in, OWN IT! Be confident in what you have to offer and in the reason the other person should want to get to know you.
- Don't be a mean girl. NEVER judge a book by its cover - or by its profile pic and bio. People are so much more than what you see on the surface. Take the time to actually get to know each person you meet to find common areas of connection.
- Don't make it all about you. Always approach a budding contact as if they are silently asking "What's in it for me?". Look for ways to get to know and add value to the person you are meeting.
- Let conversation flow naturally. While you should always be ready to spark and maintain interesting and thoughtful dialogue, don't force anything. Begin with lighthearted conversations and let things expand from there.
- Be able to explain who you are and what you do. The foundation of building a new relationship is to introduce yourself, right? Make sure you have an interesting and concise personal pitch to help frame the initial meeting.
- Follow up. This one is a big deal - NEVER, EVER offer or take contact information if you have no intention of actually using it. A good rule of thumb is to reach out within 48 hours of the first meeting to stay in touch.
Whether you love it or hate it, networking is a HUGE part of career success. With so many ways to connect with people these days, there's no excuse to not get into it.
Try out a few of these tips and let me know how it goes!
All the best,