Networking can be an effective tool to supercharge your opportunities and success.
Benefits of Building a Strong Network
- A greater number of connections who know and like you who may reach out to you as they come across opportunities that might interest you
- An increased ability to stay on top of the latest industry trends and best practices
- The ability to bounce your ideas off of others to get a fresh perspective that can help you arrive at the best decision
- The ability to develop a mentoring relationship where you can obtain guidance from someone who has “been there and done that”
See below for some hacks that can help you make the most out of your networking opportunities.
- Begin with the end in mind — Clearly identify what you want to get out of networking
- Keep your LinkedIn profile up to Date
- Have 1-3 light topics ready to “break the ice.” Ideally these would be interesting topics related to recent trends or events in your industry
- Have an abbreviated “elevator pitch” ready regarding (1) who you are and (2) what it is that you are looking to do in the future
- Talk about topics that others can relate to rather than falling back to the topics that you personally enjoy talking about the most
- Truly listen to the people you meet and be on the lookout for opportunities where you can help them
- Shortly after you attend a networking event, reach out to people you met that you would like to stay in touch with (e.g., connect with them on LinkedIn, etc.)
- Consider including others in your networking (e.g., bring a coworker, previous colleague, or friend with you to the networking event)
- Help people in your existing network — Be a “go giver” in addition to being a “go getter.” Later on when you ask for favors, people will remember how much you helped them.
- Keep your existing contacts “warm” by reaching out to them once a year. This could be a quick email updating them on what is new with you and asking what is new with them. This way your “warm contacts” (e.g., previous colleagues) will have you top of mind as they come across opportunities that might be a great fit for you.