Networking Made Easy
Do you hate to network? If so, you’re not alone. Some people hate the thought of walking into a room where they don’t know anyone, but they do it because networking is an important part of professional success. Being connected to others is one of the most valuable tools you have for getting referrals and being top-of-mind. Here are some tips to make it easier.
- Be selective about where you network. Choose organizations that you like and want to support. Having a shared interest and commitment to an organization makes it easier to attend meetings and mingle with other likeminded people.
- Take it slow. Don’t set a goal to meet as many people as you can. Instead, decide that you will meet two or three new people and reconnect with someone you already know in the group.
- Focus on the other person, not your discomfort. Use a journalist’s who, what, where, when, why, and how form of questioning to get to know people, but don’t come across as if you are interviewing them! Ask questions and share your own answers to them, so they get to know you, too.
- Follow up. When you meet new people, make sure you take time to send an e-mail within a day or two to reinforce the connection. If you meet someone you want to get to know better, schedule a coffee meeting within a week or two.
- Connect on social media. Add social media to your networking activities. LinkedIn is a great venue to meet people both within and outside your industry. Join groups, check profiles of people you are interested in meeting, and reach out to them.