Ways To Shine At Online And Face-To-Face Networking
Everyone knows about the importance of networking. It’s no secret the most successful executives generally have a large network. The more you network, the more you’ll be able to boost your executive profile. It allows you to earn a great reputation within your industry and beyond.
Networking is valuable whether you’re actively looking for a job or not. If for some reason, you believe building your network doesn’t bring any value to your career, then maybe this article can help.
Here are some insights into what to do and what not to do when building, connecting, and revitalizing your networking.
Start With Your Own Network
This is especially true if you aren’t the most comfortable with the concept of networking. Maybe you are an introvert and have trouble talking with new people. Optimize your LinkedIn profile by making connections. This includes you current coworkers and other professionals outside of your organization. Find your comfort zone by connecting with familiar faces online and re-establishing relationships.
Your Network Needs Constant Attention
Even if you’re comfortable with your job and have no intention of changing jobs, you still have to give some attention to your network. Maintaining solid relationships with your network will help you stay informed within your industry. Have your recruiting list built up at all times, and know what’s happening with your competition.
What if you have let your relationships lapse? What do you do?
You’ll quickly realize other executives understand when you haven’t reached out to them in a while. A quick apology for not staying connected is sometimes all it takes to rekindle the relationship.
If your intentions are to ask them about possible job or business opportunities, then don’t waste a lot of time with small talk. Finding some balance in your communications is important and can improve your personal branding when you do it the right way.
Establish New Connections
Now that you’ve reconnected with coworkers and professionals, start expanding your network to include new people. View the LinkedIn profiles of different people in your industry and see if you have similar interests.
Don’t hesitate to invite them to connect, as other professionals are usually more than willing to expand their network, as well.
Become Active on LinkedIn
Make sure that your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and ready to be viewed by your connections. Being active on LinkedIn means talking to people privately, communicating in LinkedIn groups, sharing updates, posting new content and more.
You don’t have to spend a significant amount of time on a daily basis with your LinkedIn. When people know you’re active, they will more likely connect with you.
Don’t Do All The Talking
It’s human nature to talk about yourself, since no one knows more about you than you. Don’t fall into that trap. When you’re networking, it’s better to allow the other person to do the talking and just be a great listener.
Ask leading questions to the person you’re talking with, and let them do most of the talking. When you let people talk about themselves while you listen attentively, you’ll be surprised at how much they will admire you. Build on the points the other person makes, but try not to take control of the conversation.
Talk to Lots of People
Move around and meet lots of people. It’s natural to find an interesting person and spend the entire evening talking to them. The point of networking events, though, is to talk to a variety of people, to get your name out there more.
To help you with this, take a look at your LinkedIn profile before the event and see which of your connections are attending a certain event. Write down a list of names or make a mental note about them and seek them out at the event.
When you’re a LinkedIn connection with someone, they should at least see your face as being familiar, at the very least. Even if you just introduce yourself and hand out a business card, it’s better than not speaking to that person at all.
Don’t Be a Salesman
Many people make the mistake of thinking the purpose of a professional networking event is only to sell yourself. That couldn’t be further from the truth. While your executive profile can be promoted at these events, you should eliminate any trace of a salesman mentality you have.
Instead, focus your effort and attention on developing new relationships. Learn how you can help them without selling any services. Sharing your experiences with another professional will go a long way in boosting your reputation.
Don’t let all your hard work be for nothing. You don’t have to call, email or text them right when you leave the event. Consider visiting their LinkedIn profile afterward and thank them for the opportunity to talk to them.
At that point, you can invite them to other events, or see if they would like to get together with you individually to talk more. You don’t necessarily have to follow up with every person you talked to at the event. But you should follow up with the people you connected with the most.
Contact Your Mentor
Many executives have a mentor very close to them within their organization. Finding another mentor outside of your inner circle can be beneficial, as well.
You may want to learn something new, develop professionally in different ways, or even want to start the process of searching for a new job. If that’s the case, then having the help of a mentor can help you tremendously.
Successful executives know that having a large number of connections is great. How you treat those connections will make a difference in their value. Take the time to treat them right, and your time investment will be worth it in the end.