How to brush up on your networking skills…
Meeting new people, making new friends and building lasting bonds is something most of us are capable of succeeding at. Yet put this in a business context, and call it ‘networking’ and even the most confident person may worry they’re not doing it right. Take a look at JAM’s tips on how to improve your networking skills…
A gift to the shy and short on time, social media can be a great way to meet new people and build your network. If you haven’t got a LinkedIn page already, set one up. Remember, your profile should be the ‘shop window’ for your career, so make sure you keep it up to date and relevant. Update it periodically and log in at least once a week. If you’re a prolific business tweeter, it is possible to link the two accounts to help you demonstrate your expertise and knowledge of your industry.
Search for groups which are relevant to your industry. Join them and add your part to the discussions (but only when you have something meaningful to say).
If there are no groups you would like to join on Linkedin, why not start your own? It shows that you’re proactive in your networking, and will give you a reason to network with the people you think may be useful to you without looking pushy. You can even use Linkedin to create a local group, and then arrange face to face meetings.
Face to face Networking
Networking events can be an ordeal for some, the equivalent of going to a party where you don’t know anyone, but with the added pressure of knowing that if you don’t get it right, you may miss a real opportunity to advance your career.
One way to assuage nerves is by preparing well. Check the guest list in advance. Is there anyone there you’d particularly like to talk to? Do you know another attendee who can make an introduction? It goes without saying that you should come armed with a stack of business cards to give out to people you talk to too.
Always remember to follow things up. It’s no good making a raft of new contacts if you don’t keep in touch with them. If you meet someone who you think may be useful to you in the future, be sure to send them a quick note after the event. An un-intrusive way of keeping in touch, and making sure you stay on someone’s radar is to send them an occasional news story which you think may be of interest to them, or invitations to any other useful events. It will show you know what they’re about, and ensure that they don’t forget who you are and how you might be able to work together in the future.
If you are in need of any more ways to brush up on your networking skills, be sure to drop us a comment below!