Unless you do it all the time, networking can seem like work! In so many realms and for so many reasons networking can be integral to expansion, growth and special consideration and privledges.
Don’t like to network? Don’t know how to effectively network? Not even sure why you need to network? No worries darlin’, I’ll share some nice little nuggets on the whys and whats and then help you get over your hump to how you can become a networking pro.
Before we dive in, lets make sure we are on the same page about what networking is and isn’t. Networking is not forcing yourself to talk to someone who is pushing a product or service on you. I automatically think of a greasy salesman with a game-show-host smile. Ugh! It’s also not meeting others expecting them to do something for you, buy something from you or give you something.
Networking is simply making an authentic connection with another.
The intention is to get to know others while also (hopefully)leaving a memorable presence, about yourself. It’s about being genuine.
People are connections. Every person you are able to make a positive connection with is someone who could potentially be beneficial to you or enrich your life and vice versa. So, it goes without saying- the more authentically you are able to connect with others, the better.
A single person can be your step away from a new job, a great business connection or a valuable relationship. When the scenarios are all considered, there is really no limit to the type and level of value networking can provide.
Never underestimate the value of networking.
If networking makes you feel uncomfortable, awkward or just plain out-of-your-element, there is good news. No one ever has to know.
It’s acutally quite easy to learn how to network like you’ve been doing it all of your life.
Today, in Part 1 we will lay the foundation and focus on what to do to prepare for networking and how to follow-up afterward.
In Part 2, which is up and coming, we will focus on what you should do & say in order for you to be effective in your networking efforts.
Although you don’t need to look like you are red-carpet ready with your hair coiffed, you do need to look appropriate, neat and well put together at all times. With this in mind, please do not leave the house looking like you just rolled out of bed- even if you need to pop into Walmart at 3am just to get a carton of milk. If you are going to the gym- have on appropriate workout clothing and make sure you look presentable enough to run into anyone.
4. Dont waste the time/effort invested in your initial connection. Always follow up in a timely basis! Networking isn’t networking if you meet someone and they forget who you are. It’s pretty much pointless if this is the result. You must make yourself memorable.
5. Social media. Its always great to use the power of social media to stay connected. Linked In, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram… look for your connections on on the various venues. If you meet someone at a corporate event, I suggest sending out an initial email prior to connecting with them on social media. It’s better to err on the side of formailty, in those situations. Use social media to your networking benefit to keep up with and maintain your connections. With this in mind, make sure all of your social media accounts and representations reflect an appropriate image. Take time now to remove or clear out any photos, posts, pins or other content that is not appropriate.
Stay tuned, in Part 2 we’ll get into the nitty gritty parts of Networking.
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