Networking is an art – “you have to find ways to cut through the white noise and get noticed,” says Ivan Misner, author of “Networking Like a Pro”. When done skillfully, networking can help land new clients and tap talent for future hiring.
Tip 1: Give Before You Receive
If you want to form a relationship with someone, first show them how they’ll benefit, e.g. by offering to introduce them to someone of relevance. Think of networking like a bank account—you have to make deposits and build up capital before making a withdrawal.
Tip 2: Don’t Just Collect Cards
In the game of networking, you’re going for quality, not quantity. Instead of casting a wide net, focus on cultivating deep personal connections.
Tip 3: Follow Up
Following a conversation with a person of interest, jot down a number from 1 to 10 on the back of their business card, indicating their importance to you. For anyone who scores a seven or above, add a brief note about them, such as “trip to London, 3-year-old son, starting a new job.” The next day, send an email to the person, saying how much you enjoyed the conversation and reference one of the notes, e.g. “Have a great time in London!” Maintain the connection – the frequency and depth of your interactions depends on the strength of the relationship.
Tip 4: Do Your Homework
Before meeting someone of interest to you, do an online search to uncover what they’re truly interested in, from charities they support to any awards they’ve received.
Tip 5: Deepen Your Network Pool
“Diversity is key to growing a strong personal network,” Misner says, so seek relationships with totally different people who can introduce you to new contacts. It’s also smart to connect with savvy junior people in your industry because they might end up being portals of useful information.
Tip 6: Check Your Profile
Your LinkedIn contacts are a reflection on you, so don’t add contact requests from complete strangers. Likewise, only contact someone via LinkedIn if you have a connection in common. If you don’t have any shared connections, it’s better to get in touch via a more personal email or letter.
Are you always being a powerful networker?
Adapted from an article by Molly Triffin, Forbes.com