Following on from our last blog post, here are the final 5 simple networking tips for 2015.
6) Everyone is a bridge.
We forget that every single person we meet can be a bridge to someone else. Perhaps that cashier has an uncle who works at the company you have targeted for a new job? There are always opportunities to be discovered from random meetings in an elevator, a subway seat and a New Year’s Eve party. Know that you can network anywhere, anytime with anyone!
7) Networking strategies are great, but learn the tactics.
Every online article provides the basic networking tips and strategies — have business cards, create your pitch, have a plan, etc. But very few talk about actual tactics. You need to learn how to enter a conversation, ask the right questions and leave the conversation. The best tactic to enter a conversation is to use your “power words” such as “Hi!”, “Excuse me…”, “Sorry to interrupt…” and “Pardon me…” These words will get you into any conversation. Just make sure you are clear and loud enough to be heard. You should also ask open-ended questions such as “what are you passionate about” and “where do you see yourself in 10 years”. These questions invest, engage and open up the conversation. When you need to leave, again use your power words from above and mention the next step you’d like to take (e.g. e-mail, call, coffee, LinkedIn connection, etc.).
8) Leverage Online Networking is now expected, so build a compelling presence and brand.
Social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+ are huge right now. Start building your profiles in these spaces if you are there. If you are not sure where to be, think about who you want to network with. For example if the majority of the people and companies you admire are engaging on LinkedIn and Facebook then you need to be there. Having a strong profile, responding to articles and updates, and connecting with people you have networked with will build your online personal brand.
9) Not following-up renders networking useless!
So often people exchange business cards and never contact each other. Or they add each other on LinkedIn and the networking dies there. Remember you are building a relationship and you want to be memorable. Following up is critical to making networking work effectively. In fact, by following up you are setting yourself apart from most networkers.
10) You gotta want it!
Networking, like leadership, is something you have to want and demonstrate. This mean you have to do everything — be prepared, plan your questions, rehearse your tactics, offer to help, use social networking, follow-up and build the relationship — to make an impact with networking. The more you want it, the more you will do and the more you will find success with networking.
Now it’s your turn. What are your top networking tips for 2015?