In order to grow your reach and enhance your career you need to be networking with the right people.
Networking doesn’t have to be hard. It should be fun and something you enjoy. Networking is a great opportunity to meet new people that can mentor you, support you or help you in reaching new people and growing your reach.
If the thought of networking has increased your heart rate – stop and take a breath! Before you dive into networking events and groups, I’ll give a couple of small networking starters:
- Start in your own back yard. Get to know the careers of those you are close to. Most of the time we talk to our friends and neighbors about NWS – news, weather and sports. Start asking about their work. How they started, how they moved up, education/training, lessons learned, etc. Channel your inner Diane Sawyer! 😉 Make it a casual conversation. Strengthen those networking muscles.
Also, let those in your circle know what you need. Instead of the NWS topics all the time, let those in your circle know what your career goal is. Ask for their wisdom and assistance.
- Start by Volunteering. Get out of your comfort zone and volunteer. Serve at a charity event like a golf fundraiser, home improvement project for a single mom, neighborhood service project, PTA fundraiser, charity auction, etc. There’s no telling who you will meet! Someone I know volunteered at a mini marathon event (checking in runners) and was able to meet and get to know the Director of Marketing for a major corporation that was on her wish list!
- Check out Networking Events and Groups. Find local organizations related to your field and attend a monthly meeting. Also include organizations like the Rotary Club, Young Professionals, Chamber of Commerce, SHRM (Society of Human Resource Management), Business & Professional Women, etc. If you are an entrepreneur, you may want to seek out a networking group like BNI (Business Network International).
Here are some tips when it comes to networking groups:
- Make sure that you are comfortable with the group and the people. Many networking groups will let you attend a couple live sessions complimentary so that you can see if it is a good fit before you pay the dues. Be sure to do this. If you don’t like the group, or it isn’t the right people (even though they may be really nice) to help you reach your goals, you can save the cost of the dues and move on to something that will fit you better rather than lose money. (Online networking groups are all different. Make sure that they have a refund policy or a monthly payment option that you can leave at any time if you decide the group isn’t for you.)
- Talk to people at the group when you attend the first couple ones. You want to make sure that not only the group is a good fit for you but that the people in the group that attend are a good fit as well. You get the most from a group when you make connections with the members.
- Do your research before you sign up. Are there dues at every meeting, is it an annual fee to join, are there fees if you don’t attend a meeting? Things like this can be very important to know. You don’t want to have to be paying out dues or fees if the meetings don’t fit your schedule. See if the meetings are a set day/time and make sure that you will be able to easily attend them.
Networking has the potential to introduce you to the right people to help you reach your career or business goals.
If you would like some help developing a networking plan, just reach out. I am happy to help!