Welcome to Part 4 of the Jumpstart Your Career blog series!
Networking can be the most powerful tool that you can use to build your career. But for many of us, networking can feel unnatural and awkward. Here’s some ways that you can level up your networking game.
1. Set Goals
Don’t just show up to a networking event and hover alone in the background. Make the most of your time with that group of people! If you’re an introvert or are feeling intimidated by the crowd, it can help to set a goal for the night to keep you active and engaged – it can be 5 solid conversations, meeting 3 new people, or just staying to finish dessert.
2. Practice Your Introduction
When you introduce yourself, you want to be able to clearly communicate who you are and what you’re about in a couple of sentences. Why? If they can help you directly, they’ll know right away. If an opportunity comes up later, they might remember you. But for either of these things to happen, your introduction needs to be clear and impactful. It’s a good idea to practice your introduction (and handshake!) so you can come across as confident and professional.
3. Ask questions
The key to having good networking conversations is asking questions. To do this, you need to give the other person your full attention and listen carefully, not just trying to think of what you’re going to say next while the other person is talking. Being humble and curious about the other person will make it easier to learn about their expertise and their passions.
4. Follow Up
Your network is something you build over time, and it’s important to stay in touch with people even if you don’t see them in person often. If you network with someone for the first time, make sure to get their contact info or ask if it’s okay to connect with them on LinkedIn afterwards. It is essential to send an email or LinkedIn message saying that you appreciated your conversation and would like to stay in touch within 24-48 hours. If you’re seeking to deepen that relationship you may also include a request for a coffee chat or an article that they might find interesting.
Do you have any other tips for networking? Leave a comment below!