Why Networking Is So Important
Networking is all about opportunity. Maximizing that opportunity to meet people and build relationships in your industry and fostering relationships are integral to business and career development. Networking is also about being conscious and aware of other people in your industry and vertical. It's a 2-way street - you also want them to be aware of where you are in the industry for future business development, referrals or job references.
Networking is something I wish I was better at during my time in the corporate world. I wish I had dedicated more time to cultivate the relationships I had with the people I met throughout my career. Don't make my mistake! Here is how to be better at networking:
Tips for Networking
The Golden Rule of Networking - you are looking to give, not to get. Use this as an opportunity to do something for someone else - provide advice, make an introduction etc. By looking to build genuine connections and providing assistance you will build a deeper relationship and come across much more authentic.
What Is Your Story - Make sure you are building these new relationships with a clear understanding of your position and career focus in your vertical. Be clear about your selling-points and what you are looking to develop whether that is: industry contacts, experience or insight into a LOB/technology/specific company etc.
Make Time & Be Intentional - Networking is something that you need to dedicate time too. So be purposeful and strategic with your networking events and time. I recommend allocating 10%-20% of your time a month to reaching out or attending events. Make sure these are events you find interesting or challenging for your industry.
Attending Events & Conferences - Find events and conferences in areas of your focus or verticals you are looking to expand into. Make sure you are attending multiple times. You may run across the same attendees and clients, those multiple interactions allow for a deepened relationship to develop. Try to attend 2-3 successive events as this is how you will get the ROI on your time.
Tips: This is a long-term strategy, we are not looking for short-term gain. So don’t be all about business. Foster meaningful relationships that will develop and you will want to nurture during your career.
Organizing Your Network & Follow Up - It's important to know and follow your network. Are they getting promoted, changing jobs, leaving companies? Make sure you are taking the time after meeting and developing new relationships to follow-up and maintain these connections.
SCROLL DOWN FOR A BONUS NETWORKING EMAIL TEMPLATE↓
YOUR NETWORKING ADVICE
I asked you on Instagram to share your own networking advice! Here are the great tips that were left:
@nosugarlisa - My best tip is for my fellow introverts, put yourself out there even just once a month. Hit an in-person event. Even if you end up being more of a lurker than the life of the event, you never know which fellow networker you may connect with. The connections you make and immediate impressions are invaluable!
@norahlovesmakeup_mua - Best tip? Always bring your business cards!
@Belizagram - Be yourself and be authentic!
Thanks for the tips ladies!
BONUS EMAIL NETWORKING TEMPLATE
I just wanted to reach out and say that it was so nice meeting you at [X EVENT]. I enjoyed talking to you about [RECALL EXPERENCE]
I wanted to share that job opportunity with you as well in case you know of anyone who might be a fit [XXX]. Please let me know if there’s anything I can help you with as well! Looking forward to connecting again.