Professional Networking Tips
Professional networking is an essential aspect of building a successful career. The people you surround yourself around can help you learn about new job opportunities, gain insights into different industries, and share valuable knowledge and advice.
The ability to network and connect with people in your industry can open doors to new possibilities, ideas, and collaborations. However, many people find networking daunting, especially when they’re just starting.
Building and maintaining a robust network takes time and effort, but the rewards can be significant. In this post, we’ll explore three sections of professional networking tips: how to build your network, how to be successful at networking events, and how to re-connect/re-engage your network.
How to build your network:
Networking is all about building relationships with people who can help you achieve your professional goals. Here are some tips on how to build your network:
a) Attend industry events: Attending industry events is an excellent way to meet new people who share your interests and passions. Look for events related to your industry or field and attend them regularly. Networking events, conferences, and trade shows are great opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals who can offer insights, advice, and guidance.
b) Join professional associations: Joining professional associations related to your industry is another excellent way to build your network. These associations offer a platform for professionals to connect and collaborate, share knowledge, and learn from each other.
c) Use social media: Social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook can also help you build your network. LinkedIn is a powerful networking tool that allows you to connect with professionals in your field. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and showcases your skills and achievements. You can join groups related to your industry and participate in discussions, which can help you connect with like-minded individuals. When sending connection requests, make sure you personalize your message and explain why you want to connect.
d) Ask for introductions: Don’t be afraid to ask for introductions. If you know someone who knows someone else you’d like to meet, ask them to introduce you. Personal introductions are a great way to build relationships with people you might not have met otherwise.
How to be successful at networking events:
Networking events can be overwhelming, especially if you’re not comfortable meeting new people. Here are some tips on how to be successful at networking events:
a) Set goals: Before attending a networking event, set some goals for what you want to achieve. Maybe you want to meet three new people in your industry or learn about a specific company or job opportunity. Setting goals will help you stay focused and make the most of your time.
b) Research the attendees: Research some of the attendees you want to talk with before the event to get a sense of who will be there and what they do. This will help you identify people you want to meet and plan for how to approach them. You might also want to research the keynote speakers or panelists and prepare some questions to ask them.
c) Come prepared: People like to say to bring business cards and any other materials you might need, such as a resume or portfolio. But business cards and pieces of paper usually find their way into a trash bin rather than on top of someone’s desk. Leverage the technology around you- create your own QR code to link someone to your contact information, LinkedIn profile, or professional website.
d) Be yourself, but also be approachable: Networking events can be intimidating, but it’s essential to be yourself. People are more likely to remember someone who is genuine and authentic than someone who is trying to be someone they’re not. Try to be approachable. Smile, make eye contact, and don’t be afraid to start a conversation with someone. If you’re standing in a group, make sure you’re not closing yourself off by crossing your arms or standing with your back to the group.
e) Listen more than you talk: When meeting new people, it’s important to listen more than you talk. Ask questions, show interest in what they have to say, and be engaged in the conversation. People appreciate when others show genuine interest in them, and it’s a great way to build rapport.
How to re-connect/reengage your network:
Maintaining your network is just as important as building it. Here are some tips on how to re-connect/reengage your network:
a) Follow up: After the event, be sure to follow up with the people you met. Send a personalized email or LinkedIn message thanking them for their time and reminding them of the conversation you had. Following up is an essential part of building relationships and keeping the conversation going.
b) Reach out with a specific reason: When reconnecting with someone in your network, it is important to have a specific reason for reaching out. This could be to ask for advice, to catch up on what they are doing, or to invite them to an event. Having a specific reason will make the conversation more meaningful and help to re-engage the relationship.
c) Personalize your message: When reaching out to someone in your network, it is important to personalize your message. Show that you remember them and their interests and that you value their relationship. This will help to make the conversation more engaging and memorable.
Example: “Hi Tom, I was just thinking about the conversation we had last year about your interest in environmental sustainability. I recently came across an article that I think you would find interesting, and I wanted to share it with you.”
d) Show genuine interest: When reconnecting with someone in your network, it is important to show genuine interest in what they are doing. Ask them about their current projects, challenges, and achievements, and listen attentively to their responses. This will help to build rapport and strengthen the relationship.
e) Offer to help: When reconnecting with someone in your network, it is important to offer your help and support. This could be in the form of advice, resources, or introductions