Have you ever thought to yourself “oh, I should really try to network more and maybe I’ll grow my career?” Did you know that eighty-five percent of jobs are filled through networking?
If you’re an entrepreneur or freelancer that works alone, coworking has become the go-to means for networking as it helps you meet colleagues that share the same goals. It equally minimizes any form of depression as a result of loneliness.
We hear how networking is of importance and you’ll be brave if you haven’t subconsciously compared yourself to someone who in your words has been able to attain success through networking.
The thing with doing anything in life is to strike as much balance as you possibly can. Spending several hours a day attending conferences or networking events doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll make meaningful contact.
After taking time off recently to spend time offline, I’ve been able to attend a number of events, conferences as well as make meaningful contacts and discovered really cool ways to network which will be shared in this article.
Below you’ll find tips to keep in mind when it comes to networking.
Networking goes beyond events/ conferences
Gone are the days when you had to go to an event then exchange business cards before you could say you had successfully networked.
With the invention of technology and the internet, there are a number of ways to meet new people while growing your professional network. You could make use of social media using LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.
You can schedule a quick one-on-one meeting with someone at a coffee shop or send out a cold email. Particularly, if you are an introvert, it’s best you start with any of these options.
One-on-one meetings are a good way to get to know the other party. Some people make use of phone calls to schedule a quick chat as well. I am yet to try this to see how a phone convo works but I sense it just makes things much less stressful especially because you want to connect initially before you begin to meet in person.
Alternatively, you can create a mix as this is very ideal. For example, in a month, you may schedule a meetup, attend a networking event/ conference and engage in one social media conversation with someone in your industry.
At the end of the month, you would have been able to network three times in a variety of ways! You could choose to do this within two months as opposed to one month for starters.
Get good at what you do and influential people will follow
As important as it is to network, bear in mind that you should work on your craft. You’ll discover that those people you look up to will eventually be willing to come to you since they can see that they’ll also derive some value from you. It’s the law of attraction!
Networking should be conceived from a two-sided perspective. It shouldn’t be all about you looking to get some value or connection from someone. What can you also bring to their professional career?
Your goal should be to know more about the other person
Have you ever attended a networking event and felt disgusted at how a person incessantly talked about him/ herself? People want to feel important and want to think you care.
If you are looking to connect, you should be focused on connecting with their inner child.
Ask questions that show that you really want to know more about this person but of course, respect their privacy. If you are inclined to ask the cliché questions of what they do for a living and all that, it’s okay.
However, also ask thought-provoking questions like why they actually decided to attend the networking event. Or why they decided to choose a career in whatever they are doing.
Allow your conversation to be organic and build from there. Whatever you do, make sure you are being genuine and don’t get too arrogant talking about yourself.
Lastly, ensure that you are attending the right event or chatting with the right professional that might boost your career.
There wouldn’t be much gained if you network with someone who might do your career or profession little or no good. Don’t waste valuable time being unproductive all because you want to network as much as possible. Make sure that it’s a wise investment of time and effort.
Did you find this article useful? Did I leave anything out? Please share tips that have worked for you in the past as well, I’ll like to hear your thoughts. Subscribe to the blog for more information and exclusive updates.