Professional networking ideas & tips to make it matter

Professional networking- ideas & tips to make it matter
Professional networking- ideas & tips to make it matter

Professional networking is for all

The beauty of professional networking is that you make a connection today. You may or may not see the benefits immediately. It comes in handy at a time when you least expect it.

So professional networking is best done before you need it! Whether you are an introvert or a sworn extrovert, being networked is inevitable in today’s professional world.

If you are an introvert, it takes some extra effort. But you’d be surprised at how many fellow introverts you stumble upon, on your way to networking.

Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced networker, here are some powerful tips to make you an uber-successful networker.

Research in advance

Learn about the people who’d arrive at your professional networking venue, beforehand. Make a special note of people you want to connect to.

Check their profiles. Know their interests. Be prepared with your conversation starters and rollers.

Show up early

A great habit nevertheless. Works very well for an introvert in their most-dreaded face-to-face networking places.

You’ve made it there before the place gets crowded. You have a few people around. You can go ahead and break the ice for yourself or have the ice broken by someone, easily.

This helps you make a lasting impression before people get busy with too many people to remember. Gives you a chance to be in their recall memory!

Be conversational

Remember this is not a place to pitch yourself or your own ideas. Make it a two-way street – not just about you.

Give people some useful information, before you ask them for favors. Seek to understand and be helpful.

Exude professionalism. It is important to come across as a professional and trust-worthy person, especially if you are a newbie networker.

Follow-up

This is the most important task in any networking activity. Make a list of the people you meet; people whom you exchange business cards with; or the people whom you take contact details from.

Remember to follow up within 48 hours of meeting them. While your conversation is fresh in their memory, reinforce your relationship. Make your second contact by writing to them, talking to them or doing something that you promised at end of your conversation.

Send them some useful information they’d like to see. Connect over LinkedIn, to get into their professional network.

Where to network?

You’ve just moved to a new place. You’re an introvert, having made a new year resolution to expand your horizons. Else you are a confirmed extrovert, ever-hustling to spread your power of connections all around. Wherever you are in your journey of influence, these are some places you want to frequent to make professional networking happen to you.

  1. Professional meetups

  2. Startup conclaves

  3. Corporate/industry events

  4. Facebook groups

  5. LinkedIn groups

  6. Webinars

  7. Online classes & extended interest groups

  8. A subreddit

  9. LeanIn circles (women)

  10. A twitter chat using sites like tweetchat

While these are some of the popular options, a lot more of online and offline avenues open up every day, to get people together.

Use event discovery apps

You can use the event discovery apps to be notified of events that interest you. You can also use them to locate and plan to attend a few of them when you have some time, in between the busy days at work.

Just download some of these popular event apps, to know your nearby events, online events and more.

  1. Meetup
  2. Eventbrite
  3. 10times
  4. Nearify – Discover Events
  5. Events from Facebook (Available from facebook web; App is on iOS; Android version coming soon)

You can also head over to the app store or play store. You will find a lot of local and global apps you may want to search and try.

Planning for the long-term

Plan to network on a periodic basis. Make and keep your professional networking goals. Setting yourself a target – say, to attend 2 such events a month.

If you are an introvert, resolve to meet and at least 10 new people at each event. When you are a connected person, you increase your odds of coincidental conversations and windfall opportunities.

So, reach out to your new and old connections on a periodic basis. That goes a long way to making you an ace networker.

Make this magic of professional networking happen to you.

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Professional networking ideas & tips to make it matter
Professional networking ideas & tips to make it matter

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54 Comments

  1. Definitely showing up early. Thats what I do for anything, to be quite honest. But, I also like your tip about knowing their interests. Great idea for keeping the conversation rolling and showing that you really did your homework!

  2. These are great points! I agree so much about showing up early, I find it helps to make me more comfortable as well. Also the older I get I realize just putting myself out there helps so much. You never know what may be possible if you don’t ask.

  3. I totally understand the importance of networking but I’m not very successful with it… while I do make friends and acquaintances pretty easy, it’s hard for me to follow-up with people… do you have any tips on how to be better at following up and keeping relationships with people that you already know? Thank you!

    1. Oh yes, following up is the tough part of networking, but the most crucial one. You may want to have relationship goals like “catching up with one person a week over phone/coffee/email”. Give them some useful information, gift, or simply make a valuable introduction as part of your conversation. Being thoughtful works wonders. Thank you, Katya, for stopping by and asking a great question! 🙂

  4. The more I network. The more I find introverts. I liked your tips. I have never looked at getting to a place early to beat crowds.When I graduate to actual events, I think I’ll try that to see if it makes me feel less shy.

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