Networking plays a great deal in every career field. It’s important to sharpen your skills to be able to make the right moves. I always thought of networking as a bad word, I never personally wanted to feel like I was asking people for favors but if you use this skill genuinely and with good intentions, the results can be incredible. I am always helping out my friends and expect nothing in return, so keep that in mind for yourself. Here are a few tips to be a better networker even if you’re shy.
DON’T THINK OF IT AS NETWORKING
I hate to think of networking like I am just asking someone for a favor. You never want to seem like you are using someone for a connection so I don’t like to think of it as networking. I like to think of it as connecting to my friends or inner circle, people who I genuinely like and talk to regardless of how they might be able to connect me to someone else. For me this is the most important thing to remember. Many people who I haven’t spoken to for years reach out to me and ask me for favors out of the blue and this is a huge turn off! Never be that person.
INVEST IN YOUR CIRCLE
The best way to start networking is to pay attention to your existing connections. Former managers, co-workers, and classmates are a great way to dip your toe into networking. Even people you may have known for a long time may have never mentioned to you some odd job they had or connection they forgot to tell you about.
KEEP IN TOUCH
If you come across a cool post or interesting tidbit one of your contacts would appreciate, shoot them an email. An easy way to keep in touch is to follow people in your field on social media. Be active with their accounts, leave them likes and comments frequently. This also gives you a chance to see if they are attending the same event or are in the same area as you so you can easily say hello. If their birthday pops up on your feed send them well wishes. Don’t let a contact go stale.
LEARN THE ELEVATOR PITCH
Practice introducing yourself and your brand in a clear, concise manner. Imagine you only have an elevator ride with your idol, what would you say to form a connection? I like to keep the conversation short and sweet and give whoever I am talking to my card or number and give them the opportunity to follow up with me on their terms if its something they would like to chat about more.
DON’T SPREAD YOURSELF TOO THIN
There’s no way you can attend every event or email every connection regularly. Make time weekly to send out follow-ups and emails but don’t overpack your schedule to the point that no one is getting the best version of you.
It’s easy to get super chatty, especially when you’re nervous but remember to listen. If you’re looking to grow your brand or your business, inspiration can come from anywhere at anytime. Don’t get so caught up in yourself that you miss what’s right under your nose.
Now let’s get into some intros! Tell me a bit about yourself and what you do, feel free to chat with like minded individuals and let’s build connections 🙂