Professional networking can be an important element of your day-to-day work, not only when you are looking for a new job, but a skill that should be utilised throughout your career. We give you ten tips for getting the most out of networking opportunities.
Before you embark on a determined networking campaign, it is important to define your goals:
Why are you doing it, what is the objective, how much money, time and effort can you invest, and how will you know you have reached your goal?
Here are ten tips for effective networking:
1) Real world networking as opposed to the online version should be targeted around meeting people and the best way to kick this off is to go to relevant seminars or events (Google Hr Network Groups, for example) where the subject matter is going to attract the sort of people you want to network with.
2) Join the group - buy a membership and attend regularly - it might be wise to consider the fact that it may take some time to get the results you want
3) Swap business cards with those in neighbouring seats - say hello and take stock
4) After the event: follow up with relevant people you have met between one and three days afterwards to build rapport and introduce your interests
5) Use some basic manners in social situations - don't interrupt - usually people will give you their business card - if you cant speak with them then - ask if it is okay to call them later - get agreement then your following up is with permission
6) Say hello to the main speaker at the event - give feedback
7) Say hello to the event organiser - they generally know most about who is in the room
8) Explain what your objectives are to those you meet and ask for on - referrals or ask how they might help you
9) Thank those people who help you along the way - Offer to return the favour
10) If you find what you are looking for - say thanks to the provider and to those who have assisted you,- making people feel that they have helped you creates a positive outcome to networking - we all feel good when someone appreciates us - it also encourages them do it again for you or for someone else like you.
- David Owens, Managing Director of HR Partners