Dr. Rita's Blog
For many leaders, networking is far from the top of their to-do list. With the high demands of the day to day, it’s easy to put networking out of sight, out of mind.
Whether you end up unexpectedly in transition or are expanding your career options, having a network of relationships with people you can count on and reach out to makes a big difference.
Networking is a lot like the old saying “Dig your well before you need it.” Let’s take a look at a few tips you can use to dig your networking well.
Your Mindset Matters
Think of networking as simply having conversations with people you want to get to know and who can help you in some way. You’ll find ways to help them, too.
Link Networking to your Career Goals
Networking is a vital part of your career strategy. Think about your current situation at work. Who are people who have similar roles as you? Who could help you with new ideas or introduce you to people in similar roles as you in other industries? Who has experience and could help you expand your thinking or expand your visibility?
Think about what you are aspiring to in your career. Who currently has a role you’d eventually like to have? Seek them out and ask questions about how they got their position. And ask how you can help them. You may be surprised at what you learn.
What to Say
Before you attend an event set a goal to meet 1-3 new people. At the event you can join a group by simply saying “May I join you?” Then listen for a few minutes and introduce yourself. Or if you prefer one-on-one conversations, look for someone standing by themselves. Walk up to them and introduce yourself. Open with a question such as “Have you been to one of these events before?”
When you set up a one-on-one networking meeting, remember that the goal for any networking conversation is to deepen the relationship, share and gain information and provide value to the other person.
If you want to continue your conversation with someone you briefly met, send an email with possible times to meet. Or make a phone call to reach out. Find them on Linked-In and ask them to join your network.
For someone who took the time to meet with you, send a hand-written thank you note. It will make an impression and be appreciated.
It’s a skill
Networking is a skill to be developed. With practice, you will find your individual style and approach. And you’ll meet some amazing, helpful people along the way.
Let me know how it goes for you!
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