When you mention networking to people, sometimes they cringe or comment “But I’m not a people person,” or “I’m not good at meeting new people”. Does this sound like you? Well we’re happy to help you get started with some ideas and strategies for kicking your networking off successfully.
If you only remember 4 things, these are the keys to get you going.
We’ve even included them in an infographic so you can keep it handy.
Be transparent & genuine – Keep in mind that networking is about being genuine and authentic, building trust and relationships, and seeing how you can help others. Go into it with an open mind and open style. If you’re looking for help, ask. If you just want to meet people, say that. It’s always easier to remember the truth.
Know your goals – Do you know what your goal is for networking? Maybe you have a problem you’re looking to connect with an expert to resolve. Maybe you’re just looking for someone to collaborate on a new project. Maybe you’re just looking to expand your network. If you’re not sure of your goal, better figure it out before you start trying to network. How else will you know when you’ve achieved your goal?
Explain what you need – Be able to articulate what you are looking for and how others may help you. Too often people in conversations ask, “How may I help you?” and no immediate answer comes to mind. Once you break the ice, it’s probably the first question another person will ask you.
Follow through – This seems so simple and yet is so infrequently done. Always follow up and follow through on these new connections quickly and efficiently. When people give you referrals, your actions are a reflection on them. Respect and honor that and your referrals will grow.