Archives for the month of: June, 2014

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That’s all. Make sure you “Do Summer.” It is just as important to take a break as it is to network. Be strategic. Leave time for fun. It will make you more present and productive.

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Make a list of 3-5 things about yourself or your business. They can include accomplishments, projects, upcoming events, new products or services your business is offering and more. Review the list in preparation for attending a networking event so you can promote yourself beyond the standard “What do you do?” If you are not someone who is a natural conversationalist, this will also help alleviate anxiety and stress about what to say. The list should be fluid as new things happen with you and your business!

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Always show up EARLY to a networking event-especially as a first time attendee. The urge will be to wait till more people arrive so you “blend in.”  But when you arrive early people won’t have settled into groups yet and it is much easier to start a conversation.

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As most of you know by now, I teach networking/relationship building both one on one and for workplaces, conferences, non-profits and the like. I am always encouraging people to expand their networks. Of course it is important to cultivate the relationships you already have but your inner circle of friends and family tend to know a lot of the same people. You next job, client or business opportunity is most likely to come from someone that is NOT close to you. Why? Because these folks move in different circles and can make warm introductions to people in their own networks.

This week I had the privilege of hearing the President of 85 Broads Sallie Krawcheck speak and she reiterated this idea, “Loose connections are more likely to lead to your next business opportunity than close connections. So it is really having a network out there.” Sallie stressed the importance of networking more with those you are “friendly” with rather than those that are “friends.”

These loose connections are people that may have met you a few times at events. They may be second or third degree connections on LinkedIn. They have a different perspective about you than your family and friends and this may allow them to think about key people to introduce you to that others would not.

I encourage you to think about networking with as many people as possible but also be more strategic with your networking. Check out new groups with different  people in order to have a more diverse network. Make sure to network with people outside of your industry.

It becomes very important to make a good first impression on those that you meet. You never know. Six months later they may make an introduction that could change your business!

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1. Invite someone from another department to lunch or coffee once a month. Getting to know people outside your department makes you more visible and valued and increases the likelihood of collaboration in the future.

2. Join a committee/company initiative. This is a great way to network with people and get to know them on a more personal level.  An example is a service/volunteerism project or committee.

3. Make a point of attending company events. They give you a chance to showcase what you are working on to others outside your department. You may also become aware of inter-company job opportunities before they are made public.

4. Make a point of attending personal events of your co-workers (funerals, holiday parties, weddings, housewarming parties etc.)

5. Send  a congratulatory email or card when a co-worker is promoted or receives an award or other recognition.

 

 

 

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Since my business IS Networking I am either attending events, scheduling networking phone calls or having one on one meetings constantly. But a lot of my clients don’t. I hear things like, “I just stopped networking for awhile because I didn’t feel it was getting me anywhere” or “I just had too much actual work to do for my business and that’s why you have not seen me out at events for several months.” So how do you make sure you stay consistent with your Networking and Happy at the same time? Here are 5 tips:

1. Make realistic plan and stick to it

For example, tell yourself I will attend 1 networking event and set up 1 “get to know you” meeting per week. Then stick to it. Don’t do less when things get busy-it is so important with building relationships to stay consistent. On the other hand, don’t do more. Become selfish with the rest of your time.

2. Make it convenient

I have started trying to tack on networking meetings to other events at the suggestion of a friend. If there is a monthly business networking event I know I am attending and someone in that group wants to meet, I ask if we can meet before or after the event either at the same venue or at a coffee shop nearby. This way it is not cutting into another day of my week and I know it is convenient for both of us because we are already going to the event.

3. Prioritize your new connections

While in theory you never know what can be gained by following up with every person you meet, in reality you need to prioritize your contacts and try to set up meetings with the people who you either connected with instantly on a personal level or are potential collaborators/partners for your business, or potential (but targeted) consumers/clients of your product/service.  Use your instinct.

4. Don’t attend networking events in a bad mood

If you’ve had a very hard day and are not feeling up to talking to a room full of people, don’t do it. Save it for a day you are better rested and have a better mental mindset. You never want to make a bad first impression. Don’t force it.

5. Mix it Up

Try to go to some non traditional networking events. Find a new group on meet-up that shares an interest of yours and go meet up!  Attend a book club. Go to a group class at your gym. Attend a seminar at your local library. It is just as easy to meet new people at any of these type of events. You don’t always have to be at a business card exchange to network.

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Make an effort to connect two people in your own network everyday.  You will be more valuable to your existing connections and increase the likelihood that people will return the favor and send new introductions your way.

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What do you do when you follow up and you hear crickets?

 

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People are busy. As we all know it is extremely important to follow up after a networking event and to do so timely. But what if you do not get a response? What then?

1. Don’t be pushy. Decide the method you are going to use to follow up. For example, if you send a great follow up email don’t immediately leave a voicemail for the person as well. It is not “better” to use multiple follow up methods at the time of the initial follow up. That’s annoying. Just stick with one method.

2. Make sure your follow up has a call to action.  Attempt to schedule the next meeting via phone or in person. Provide some date/time possibilities. If you are in transition/seeking career help make sure you allow the person to determine where/when is best for them and work around their schedule. They are doing you a favor.

3. Wait a week. Note your calendar. If you have not heard back from your initial follow up, after a week follow up again. You can use the same method or try a different tactic. If you sent an email maybe leave a vm this time. Don’t make mention of the first contact that has not been responded to. Don’t make the person feel guilty. This will discourage them from responding. Keep it light and friendly.

4. Wait another week. Follow up one last time (3rd attempt). If you still do not get a response, that’s it. They are just not that into you. Move on. There are other people to pursue relationships with.

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If you are not comfortable with networking, be prepared! Make a list of questions you can ask people at the event and think about the questions people will ask you and practice your responses. This will take the stress away from talking to people and you will be able to concentrate on being yourself and getting to know people.