Part III: Reaching Out
A five-part series that will help navigate you through, what some consider, the necessary evil . . . NETWORKING.
Ok ladies and gentlemen, here is where we separate the men from the boys and the women from the girls . . . it’s time to make connections, be social, reach-out.
Contrary to the rumors out there, networking is not about attending events where you throw your business card in everyone’s face and it’s not about collecting as many cards as you can either. Networking is about creating relationships. You know that old saying “It’s not what you know but who you know”? There is a connection between the strengths of your relationships and the success of your business and career.
The fabulous thing about networking in the 21st century is there are so many avenues in which you can connect:
- Social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.)
- Join groups
- Attend industry related events
- Reach into your own organization
The initial goal, however, is to meet people face to face. For those of you who are still a little uncertain, you may want to try easing yourself into networking through a modest 1:1 at the local coffee house. But don’t limit yourself, at some point you will need to dive right into something as bold as a copious group event. I understand walking into a room of 50 plus people you don’t know can be a little unsettling. However, there are a few things you can do to make the transition more comfortable:
- Have a friend/colleague attend with you
- Attend an event at a familiar location
- Connect with attendees prior to event
- Volunteer to help with the event
Then, find someone who is on their own and introduce yourself. Ask them what brought them to the event and what they hope to learn. If interested, invite them to meet with you over coffee to get further acquainted and share market insights.
All in all, the more often you attend events, the easier it will become and the more connections you make to expand your social reach. As your networking efforts begin to reap rewards, you’ll start looking forward to opportunities where you can connect with new people. Who knows, maybe some day you will be hosting your own networking event.