7 Concrete Steps to Crew Networking Success
When it comes to looking for work one of the best options to finding a dream job is by networking. Here are some useful and interesting tips by Leah H. Carlisle
Networking can make or break your success in a broad spectrum of personal and professional endeavors. It helps you connect to potential employers or growth opportunities within your organization as well as investors and sales leads. It is undeniable that networking is a must, but it is not necessarily easy or natural. It takes commitment and effort to form relationships and grow your network, and following these steps can put you on the right track to do it right.
Create a plan detailing what you need and what you have to give. As with anything else, preparing, strategizing, and prioritizing ahead of time is a must for networking. What are your short and long-term goals? Outline these before you jump headfirst into finding connections. This will provide direction and help you determine who you should reach out to and how you should approach interactions so that you are making progress toward achieving these goals. It is also beneficial to include what you or your business has to offer. Relationships should be mutually beneficial and you should be prepared to give in order to receive, so laying this out ahead of time will help.
Do your homework. One part of this is being aware of what is going on in the world around you. Staying informed on current events and business news will give you context for communication. These are things that you and whoever you are networking with can relate to, and it is also generally important to come across as informed and knowledgeable. Another aspect of this researching the person or people you will be talking to and their company if you know this or can find out ahead of time. This way, you will be better able to connect to them, offer help with something relevant, and tailor your conversations toward what will be effective with them.
Help people. It is vital that you add value. You cannot expect to receive something if you do not give, and you will likely need to give first. Provide help, advice, support, and favors for people to build your worth. This is where the right kind of relationships develop, where there is a give and take rather than one person constantly asking for favors. By helping others succeed, you will find that they will be more inclined to help you succeed later.
Seek opportunities. Find influencers, decision-makers, and all-around knowledgeable and well-connected people who are relevant to your objectives. Intentionally seek these people out. Say yes to any invitations. Are there any meet-ups going on around you? These could be gatherings of professional organizations or simply community groups. Go to them if they are in any way relevant to your goals or interests. Such events can significantly expand your network. You will meet many new people with whom you can converse, develop connections, and find ways to help and support each other. You will not form these relationships if you do not put yourself out there, so get going.
Be engaging and passionate. If you are highly invested in the conversation with enthusiasm and make your passion for your product or goals evident, you will win people over. Demonstrate interest and ask questions, demonstrating an eagerness to listen and learn. This energy can be contagious, and it makes the two-way conversation much more exciting and meaningful, especially when you find shared passion.
Follow up. This step is absolutely critical. If you do not follow up, a relationship that could have blossomed is cut short. Contact them very soon after you connect. Mention specifics that you talked about and memorable aspects of your conversation, and be professional yet friendly. You may want to jot some notes down immediately after you meet to help you when following up. Suggest a plan for your next communication or meeting. Staying in touch demonstrates interest and availability and will pave the road for a great symbiotic relationship to develop.
Nurture your relationships. Networking is not a short-term undertaking; rather, it is a mindset and a process. In order to really see success, keep in touch with people and continuously build the connection. Congratulate them on good news, make time for them if they are in town, and introduce people to one another. Slowly but surely you will build trust and deepen connections. This way, you will get to know each other and what you have to offer and thus will be able to help each other as time goes on with goals, opportunities, and successes along the way.
By following these steps, you will be able to take your networking endeavors to the next level. It takes time and cultivation, but the reward is huge. Networking can be very powerful and bring substantial growth, both personally and professionally; you just have to get started and stay on the right path.
The National Association of Distinguished Professionals is one of the largest online networking organizations for business professionals. NADP has over 150,000 members and provides resources such as business and educational services and exclusive discounts to enhance your career.