CanadianImmigrant.ca put together a list of six simple and effective networking strategies to make the most of professional networking.
Regardless of the type of event, you want to get the most from the time you spend networking. Part of having a plan is knowing that not every networking event needs attending and figuring out who you want to connect with. Make a list of the top 10 people you want to connect with and look for their LinkedIn profiles to learn the basics about them and look for common interests and/or connections. It will help you to start the conversation, make you feel more comfortable and definitely improve your results once you are there.
Many women fear that they’ll seem like they’re bragging or self-serving. But keep in mind that self-promotion isn’t actually about you. It’s about the impact of your work and that’s not something you want to hide. So, bring your smartness and uniqueness to life. If you are guarded, people will not get a sense of who you really are and it will be difficult to connect with you. Stop pretending and start being you.
Watch your body language
It is difficult to start a conversation with someone looking at the floor with crossed arms. Keeping an open posture, head up, arms and legs uncrossed conveys openness to being approached. Body language and the way in which you communicate play a significant role. When talking to people, keep eye contact and nod your head with your conversation partner, listen attentively and respond with relevant questions. These small clues go a long way toward sending positive vibes and making them feel like you care.
Give before you receive
Networking is about giving and, like any relationship, there is a cycle of giving and receiving. If you lead with taking, you won’t be successful because it will turn people off. People who give to their social circles naturally reap benefits. But, just as importantly, this is a much more empowered way to think about your career; it forces you to realize that you are not a needy person who needs to rely on others to succeed, and focuses on the many things you have to offer the world.
Don’t avoid men
A lot of women have a tendency to go to events that only other women will attend, which limits the benefits of networking. The reality is there is more men in business and in the C-suite. You need to think about it strategically and make as many valuable connections as possible to further your success. And the best way to do so is with women and men.
We know that following up is key to cashing in on your networking efforts, but this is one of the greatest areas of missed opportunity because people don’t make time for it. After clicking with a powerful new connection, don’t drop the ball. Never ever wait for everyone to email you. Offer to connect online and offline, drive the date, suggest the time, and get it on the calendar.
Hard work is essential to success and networking is the key to unlimited opportunities. Make a plan, focus and be consistent. You are here to meet new people, discover new things and, most importantly, to enjoy the process.
Networking is all about leveraging your connections. Step up to the challenge, you’ll find avenues of opportunity that you may have otherwise never discovered, and you will be making an invaluable investment in the steady growth of your business or career.