Mastering the art of networking can be intimidating. Where do you start? What’s the right way to go about it? Don’t worry, we’ve got you- here a few do’s and don’ts to help you perfect your networking game.
Do your research
When attending seminars and other networking events, it’s important to do your research about the speakers and other people in your industry beforehand. This is especially helpful if you’re interested in branching out into a certain field. You’ll know who all the key players are, their roles, and what questions to ask them in order to get more information.
Do keep in touch with contacts
It’s important to follow through on what you’ve promised people after you’ve exchanged contact details, and maintain communication with them thereafter. It’s also important to stay in touch with former colleagues and employers, even if you don’t speak to them often - you never know when you might need their help. Don’t burn bridges!
Do keep communications short and succinct
One way of being considerate of people’s time is keeping emails, messages and phone calls as short as possible. Try not to bombard new contacts with long messages and emails as this may be overwhelming for them. It’s okay to follow-up on initial contact if it hasn’t been responded to, but try to keep it short and to the point. It’s also good to keep an open mind, and not have any expectations as you might find yourself disappointed if your contacts don’t reply or don’t keep a promise they may have made.
Don’t call your contacts only when you need something
Even if you don’t have a lot to offer, it’s really important to find ways to add value to your interactions. Whether it’s new information, or a helpful resource you’ve found out about - make sure you’re adding some kind of value to conversations. This way, you and your contacts develop relationships that are mutually beneficial. You don’t want to only call on them when you need a favour.
Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone
You need to have a bit of courage when making initial contact with people on social media or at networking events (especially if they’re more established in their careers). Don’t let yourself be intimidated by their job titles or level of expertise - go out there and make conversation. With time, you’ll become more confident and approaching people won’t be so scary.
Networking isn’t as difficult as people make it sound. As long as you’re confident, considerate, and make sure you follow through on your commitments, you’re all good.