PLANS & PRICING
Networking is like building a circle of professional contacts who can expose you to new opportunities and help you advance your career. The best way to build your network is to attend networking events hosted by your employer, company or even college. Here are some of the best networking tips-
Do your research- if you know who’ll be attending, or talking to, look them and their organisations up. Come prepared with questions to learn more about their business and any opportunities they may have. People look to talk about themselves and giving them that opportunity will make you seem more likable.
Arrive on time- You may think it's fashionable to arrive late, or you may be nervous to be one of the first few people to be there, but always be on time. That will help you reach out to people before they form groups.
Smile- Definitely try and appear approachable. That makes people want to come and talk to you- opening you up to more opportunities.
Initiate Conversations- Most people are more than willing to have conversations about their work as long as you show interest. Put yourself out there. Join online communities and connect with professionals from your field on LinkedIn.
Be Innovative- linkedIn gives you 300 characters to initiate a conversation with a stranger. Use them well. Introduce yourself, what you are passionate about and how that is relevant to the other person. Similarly, subject lines of emails make a big difference. Often, they may be the difference between someone opening your email, or it being marked as spam. Make it eye catching and attractive.
Do not try your sales pitch- A networking event is not an opportunity for you to try and sell your product. Use this time to build connections and if a potential client asks you about what you do, have a short description of your business and its accomplishments ready.
Keep business cards handy- Always have a set of business cards handy to pass them out to potential clients. Also, make sure to keep the cards of people you would want to follow up with after the event.
Follow up- Don’t undermine the power of follow ups. If you had told someone you would get back to them, do that. And be timely. Other than that, some great follow up conversation starters would be to pass on an article that would be relevant to them, inform them of opportunities or tell them that you are looking for an opportunity. You could also talk about a current event that directly relates to their field.
Now go out there and build a solid network!
Everybody has a different purpose for networking - to be in the know, to scout for leads, to find a job, to get advise, to enter a new industry etc. Everything I know about networking, I learnt from my mentor who is an absolute star at opening doors and has an amazing ‘little black book’ of contacts.
The first principle is - don’t ask yourself what I can get, ask ‘how can I add value?’
Attend events and conferences in your industry or about areas that you are passionate about. If a person or an organisation peaks your professional interest, reach out and ask to know more about their work. (Note, you might have to schedule a separate time to have a chat).
Do research and be prepared before your conversation. Think about what you can offer that adds value to the other person - this could be information related to their industry, a shared personal interest, a lead for their business, a strategy they should adopt etc. Build a connection and see if it leads to any obvious overlaps or collaborations.
Do not start with an ask. You may be looking for a role or assignment which you could mention later in the conversation, but do not put them on the spot to give you a job. If they like you and respect you, they can introduce you to more people or opportunities.
Be mentally prepared for no concrete outcomes out of a first meeting. Do not expect for people to hand you a job after the initial meeting (unless they are looking to hire and you fit the bill exactly). This does happen sometimes, but is rare. The aim is to make a positive memorable impression so they do think of you when they come across an opportunity that is good for you.
Follow up and build a relationship - Be proactive about following up. Share any resources (or your resume if they ask) you promised to share within the timeframe discussed. If it is someone who you would like to stay in touch with, occasionally share relevant information, conference details, achievements etc so they are abreast on your progress.