Networking is one of those things that you have to do no matter how badly you don’t want to. It’s even harder when you’re shy or can’t hold a conversation. How else can you meet people to help you get into your career field? However, networking doesn’t have to be hard! Here are some ways to network effectively without being creepy.
1. Tell compelling stories and make yourself interesting.
Make yourself more memorable when you're speaking to people. The best way to do that is through storytelling. When you tell a story, make sure it has a clear point. Most people aren't interesting in the way they communicate. Whether you are reaching out on LinkedIn, tweeting at someone or talking at an event, share content that is relevant and useful to your connection. In addition, take time to share their posts and content, such as a recent article they wrote that is interesting to you. Hold off on sharing photos of their breakfast or their cat. That’s a little strange.
2. Be open.
It's a simple fact of life that your personality won't vibe with everyone's personality. The person you want to connect with may not be willing to give out advice or mentor you, and that's okay! Find someone else in that company or field and they may be able to help you out in the same way (or even better!)
3. Offer a compliment and be sincere when you do it.
We all like someone to say something nice to us -- but make it genuine. It might be something someone is wearing, something you may have heard about the person, the business, or even the industry.
4. Think positive.
Chance the Rapper said it best: Don't forget the happy thoughts. All you need is happy thoughts.
5. Do your homework.
Find out who is going to be at an event and make sure they are the kind of people that could be prospective customers for you. Network with intent.
6. Reach out in a timely fashion.
Let's say you go to a networking event on a Friday. I would suggest following up on Monday. That allows the person you're trying to connect with time to enjoy their weekend and on Monday, they can catch your email in their morning email routine.
Here’s a generic example you can use in your follow up:
I enjoyed meeting you at [event name] and talking about [subject]. I’d love to continue our conversation [over coffee/a drink/a call] and wanted to ask you specifically more about [their experience]. I’m currently pursuing [speak to a professional goal] and your insight into [specific aspect of it] would be so helpful.
Thank you so much for your time and I look forward to talking with you further soon.
The best networkers are the people who actually work at networking. By this I mean they meet people, they take notes, they follow up the next day, they build relationships -- they get the business.
Lead Image Credit: @timdwright via Unsplash