Networking is for everyone. If you own your own business, you network to grow that business. If you are the employee of a company, you network to build your knowledge base and learn about new stuff: technology, resources, and yes, professional opportunities. And if you are just starting out in the professional world, you want to start networking to gain mentorships, find internships and your first (and subsequent) jobs. It is truly important for all of us. So, what are some tips to be more effective?
Find the right networking opportunities for you. An easy way to do this is my 2-2-2 rule. First, you should plan to attend two networking events each month. Figure out which ones you find most successful and focus on those. You don’t need to be going to every single Chamber mixer within 50 miles to be a successful networker. But when you go to a function, make sure you are ‘all in.’ Meet people, shake hands, make relevant conversation, give out and ask for cards.
Second, spend two hours per week updating your professional social media accounts. Focus on LinkedIn and then select one or two others that make sense for your career or company. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or another, seek out relevant content and post it in compelling posts. Make sure your posts are getting interaction. If they are not, take a step back and strategize the types of posts your people (friends, fans, colleagues) will find most useful. This is easy to do when you watch and know the posts that receive the most interaction. Expand on the ideas that are most popular.
Lastly, pick two people from your circle of influence and reach out to them daily. It can be an email (with an interesting article perhaps), a phone call to say ‘Hello’, a LinkedIn message or a breakfast meeting. It can be anything that puts the two of you together to remind each other of what you both do and why you need to keep each other top of mind.
That brings me to my last point about networking. We network to gain contacts, opportunities and resources for ourselves. Make sure you are not a greedy networker. Remember to give referrals to the people you are networking with. Make sure you are networking with people whom you want to refer.
At the end of the day, networking benefits everyone who has a professional role within an organization. What are my favorite networking opportunities in SE Michigan and for me and RBD Creative? Check out these links:
See you at an event soon!