Some say I might be a little crazy, but I LOVE walking into a room full of people that I don’t know. Do you know why? Because I get to meet new people and I get such a buzz out of it. But what I love more is I get to find out and understand what makes other people tick. I bounce out of bed in the morning because I love connecting with and understanding the drivers of others.
Networking can be seen as a dirty word, but really it’s just about giving a little bit of yourself to another person and you, too, understanding a little bit more of another person - all in the search of a common connection. I think it can provide such a positive outcome to all involved.
Lots of people ask me for networking tips so here are my best tips on finding it easier to network:
1. Breathe and smile. Realise that everyone is in the same boat – they are a bit scared of doing it, just as you are. Breathe – say ‘hi’ and, to put the other person at ease, smile. A smile is always inviting. Everything flows from there.
2. My old piano teacher would say “Camilla, as with everything – practice makes perfect”. The more meet and greets you do – the easier it feels and the better you are at it. Put regular networking events in the diary and practice.
3. Be strategic with your networking – do some industry networking and some external to the industry networking in areas that you love (such as art, sports or whatever else makes you tick). More often than not you’ll find that your industry networking crosses into your outside industry networking. It’s great like that.
4. Always ask lots of questions. There’s nothing better than seeing others talk about their passions, their last holiday, their family. It just lights them up. I love that. (PS Nobody likes listening to someone talk about themselves all the time, so don’t be one of those people. Ask a question!)
5. Listen. It’s great to talk but it’s even better to listen.
6. Always follow up the next day. Networking is only as good as the continued relationship thereafter. Remember something that you enjoyed talking to the person about and reference it in your follow up note. Linkedin is always a great follow-up tool.
My last piece of advice is for those who are a little more advanced at it and need a challenge…
7. Every now and again, extend your networks into something entirely new. Networks are organic and need renewal and refreshing to continue to add value to you and the remainder of your network. My tip - try something new, that is a little outside the square and add a whole new group to your network. Join a new club, university alumni, arts, community or sporting group or extend into a new industry group. So for the more advanced, think about the value that you add to your network. Do your network a favour and add entirely new groups to it.
Good luck and good networking…
As seen in Industry Moves https://industrymoves.com/insights/networking-tips