“Giving connects two people, the giver and the receiver, and this connection gives birth to a new sense of belonging.” - Deepak Chopra
Networking is a prominent part of the world and serves as a valuable strategy at every stage of your career development. Network, network, network!!! Instilled into a job seekers head without being reiterated. Networking involves making connections with valuable people, to resourcefully attain opportunities at any phase of your career pursuit.
The reason people enjoy networking is due to the ease of it! Hypothetically thinking..networking could be done in the comfort of one's sleep, but we all know that would be impossible.
Here are some tips to remember when making those connections:
1. Wear a smile, be happy
Believe it or not, a smile goes a long way and it's the first encounter a person recognizes upon approaching you. It's a natural response that shares your inner happiness, causing a contagious ripple effect upon others. "When you're smilin', the whole world smiles with you." You are more likely to be approached by people that reciprocate the same warm feeling of comfort given off through your smiling.
So smile! Be happy.
2. Always have business cards
I can't stress to you the importance of being prepared at all times! Don't just bring your portfolio filled with résumés and business cards to special networking events or seminars, keep those items for those “just in case” moments.
You never know what connections you’ll make, at any given time of the day so it's better to be prepared and look ahead, than to look back and regret.
Make sure you have someone to proofread your business cards and résumés for any grammatical errors or misspellings of any kind or simply for better marketing purposes.
Stepping out of the box with your business cards can also gain you more leads than you think.
3. Talk to people, ask people how they are doing
Your ability to hold a professional conversation will determine whether the connection will be beneficial or not.
Alter between each other, thus giving the individual and yourself a chance to speak. Networking is not an inherently selfish act to showcase your qualities; but it is a way to promote nurturing mutual relationships with professional colleagues.
When conversing, make the appropriate eye contact and reference any common similarities to evoke the level of conversation.
Networking is about being collegial, not competitive!
4. Connect in some kind of way (social media, email, number)
If you haven't already exchanged information business cards with each other, now is the chance to do so. You can simply ask them, "what is the best way to contact you?."
Everyone does not prefer the same method of contact, so make sure you ask for their preferred method.
The most important part of networking is the follow up, especially if you spent more than ten minutes conversing with this person.
This potential follow-up could mean generating a lead for a new possible career opportunity or facilitating an introduction between a new contact and business colleague.
Be sure to follow up within a 24 to 48-hour time frame to avoid any communication hindrance from recalling the conversation.
Hopefully these tips will give you the basis for networking with people throughout your journey. If you have any specific questions about how tactics to generate more leads, sound off in our comments below!