5 Keys to Better Networking
Networking can strike fear into the hearts of even the most confident women.
It’s understandable--for most, networking looks like a room full of hundreds of people in business wear asking strangers for favors (which is terrifying).
Thankfully that’s not quite how it works. (Well, okay, it is, but there’s an art to it!) As we tackle this topic across the newsletter, the blog, and social media, we’ll breakdown networking for what it really is: human interaction. And you (probably?) do that every day.
Let’s start with a quick checklist for making the most out of your networking experiences.
1. Stay in Your Comfort Zone
Networking happens in many different forms. Some networking happens face to face, some over the internet. Other types are one on one and some are in groups. Some have guided schedules and curriculum and others allow you freedom to do as you wish. Some networking happens through organizations (saving you a lot of time and effort) and some networking has to be sought out by the individual).
There's a type for everyone and NO ONE has to be good at them all. The only networking that can benefit you is the networking where you're comfortable to put your best foot forward. If you're not ready for face to face, pick a different route--give yourself a chance to shine at it or it will color the rest of your experiences.
2. Have a Plan
Go into the activity knowing what you want to accomplish. *Hint: Don't pick "Get an job/interview" as your goal. Having a plan means you always have something to go back to and draw on if you get stuck which can provide some comfort in tense situations.
Set realistic goals. You will most likely hit them or exceed them. Ex: "I want to leave with at least ten business cards and successfully connect with 7 on Linkedin."
"I want spend 30 minutes this week reaching out to people on Linkedin for informational interviews." (you deserve an option that doesn't require pants!)
3. Prepare your Pitch
Ah, the "salesy" part of any networking that pretty much everyone hates. A strong pitch doesn't sound like a "pitch" at all, meaning you don't sound like a used car salesmen. A good pitch sounds like someone you just met at a bar asked you what do you do for a living and you told them what you did and naturally expressed what your next move was. That's it, I promise.
Knowing how to speak to your talents ahead of time will make the whole process easier. We'll be covering how to build a great pitch in next week's blog!
Even if you're a networking pro, you should take some time to yourself after an event or after an activity to reflect on what worked and what didn't work. You can also use your recuperation time to do something that calms you down if networking made you anxious or if something went wrong.
And, of course, use it to reward yourself if something went very, very well!
Networking takes time and the key to good networking is consistency. So if you have one thing you like put yourself on a schedule and make it a routine. It could take years or it could take days. You won't know if you don't keep at it.
Stay tuned to Instagram and Facebook for more tips all this week! Want one on one help with your career? Schedule a free consultation with me!