These days, networking seems like some ever echoing buzzword we just can’t get out of our heads. This is for good reason though. Networking is crucial and can play a key role in finding new opportunities or leads. Feel like you’re already giving it a go but not getting very far? I’ve got you covered. Read on to learn five tips for more effective networking.
Start Where You’re At
Sometimes the answers we are looking for are closer than we think. A good way to test the waters and get comfortable is by starting with people you already know. This could be anyone from close friends and family to those dear friends you love but don’t speak too often. Reach out and say hello. Catching up always feels wonderful and you now have another contact who’s familiar with your goals. This can come in handy when they see an opportunity that may be perfect for you.
But Don’t Be Afraid To Branch Out
While it may be tempting to stay within your safe circle of familiar faces, it is important to take the next step and start touching base with acquaintances. Be it from a conference or a friends friend you met at a wedding. Send that email, make that call, CONNECT. Start slow, but start.
This is going to be pivotal in expanding your network. You can’t keep working the same contacts and expecting big results. To grow, you must put yourself out there, which brings us to our next point...
Get Comfortable Talking About Yourself
This one can be tough for even the most confident of individuals. Of course you know yourself inside and out, but when it comes to the dreaded “Tell us more about yourself” prompt, we tend to draw a blank.
An easy way to get past this awkward hurdle is to use a script. Not a lengthy, movie-esque type of script, but simple pre-thought out answers to common questions. This will give you the opportunity to try it out in front of a mirror or run it by a close friend. They say practice makes perfect and this is one area where this definitely rings true.
Focus On Building Genuine Relationships
When you do hit it off with a new contact, make sure to foster the relationship. Remember birthdays, send holiday cards, and above all make sure it’s genuine. There is nothing worse than a fake persona. Chances are, at some point you’re going to call them for a favor or vice versa and it helps make the situation much more comfortable if it hadn't been years since you’ve spoken.
Not sure what to talk about? You’re in luck, read on.
Stay Up To Date On Current Industry Trends
While this point may not seem directly related to networking, it is just as important as the rest. It is well and good to put yourself out there but once you’re there, what do you talk about? By using sites like Feedly, you can easily compile articles from multiple sources across your industry. Try reading one or two articles every day to stay on top of any emerging trends so that the next time you attend a conference or event, you feel prepared and can easily start new and interesting conversations.
All in all, networking is a lot of work and can seem super daunting at first. But, by identifying these key areas and working towards improvement everyday, you will start to see the results. My final tip, as always, is to stay consistent and you’ll be surprised at how far you go.
What Networking Tip Has Worked Well For You?