Quite often networking can seem to be daunting and overwhelming. However, networking can actually be enjoyable and beneficial if you remember these five simple networking tips.
This may seem like an unusual activity to undertake, but volunteering and networking actually go hand in hand. By dedicating your time as a volunteer, you make new friends, expand your network and boost your social skills.
Volunteering also provides you with renewed creativity, motivation and a vision that can carry over into your personal and professional life. By allowing you to help others while also helping yourself, it gives you purpose. It’s a win-win situation!
No matter what field you are working in, setting goals helps you to organise your time and resources so that you use them efficiently and effectively.
Challenge yourself by setting short term goals and rewarding yourself for your success. If you are attending a networking event, set a goal of meeting and establishing connections with one or two people. You may surprise yourself and end up exceeding your goal!
Networking is a wonderful way of building relationships. Prior to each event, be prepared – research and think of topics you’d like to discuss.
Learn who will be at the event and look for people who are associated with organisations you would like to work or collaborate with. This information will come across as impressive to key contacts.
When people ask about what you do, know what you are going to say and respond confidently. Be sure to make a great first impression – show up with the best version of you!
(When the Covid-crises is over and we can all get back to living normally)
While some people are naturally outgoing, others are shy and have a hard time meeting new people. Attending events with friends and meeting regularly with a group of people with common interests will make it easier to branch out and interact with good contacts by yourself.
During events and functions, impress key targets with your knowledge of who they are and why or how you can help each other. It is easier to reach out to others with the support of your friends nearby.
Networking events are just the beginning of a connection. If you do not follow up with the people you meet, there is no point in going in the first place.
Business cards are still a handy way to establish a connection with people and keep in contact. The best way to follow up is having a face to face meeting by organising a lunch or an afternoon tea. If this is not possible, a friendly phone call or sending an email are other great ways to stay connected and build on the relationship.
Good luck out there – you’ve got this!
By Roxanne Kiely