So you have finally decided on the networking group(s) or individuals that work best for you. 

Networking is not just a get a job or promotion quick scheme.  Networking is about building relationships and finding out how you can help others and how they can help you.

I want to make sure you have the best experience and build your relationships the right way so I have some tips for you that I have learned over the years.

External Networking:

  • Greet people.  Pretend it is a party you are the host of.  Go up to people, introduce yourself and ask about them.  People love to talk about themselves so make sure you give them that opportunity and they will ask the same of you.
  • If you are really feeling a connection to someone and feel that either they can help you or vice versa then invite them for  coffee or lunch to talk further when there is more time.
  • Don’t just tell people all about you and how you can help them.  Listen to others and see how they can help you or who you may be able to refer them to.  People love getting referrals and often will reciprocate the favor.
  • Spend each meeting getting to know someone new.  Don’t always sit by the same people or talk in groups to the same people.  Try to meet one new person each meeting.

Internal Networking:

  • Now that you have your internal networking list.  Make a call.  Schedule lunch or a short meeting with the person (20-30 minutes max).
  • Make the meeting informal.  Let them know you want to learn more about your company and thought you would start with them.  People love to talk about themselves.  Find out about their career journey.  Ask about their department.  What have you always wanted to know?
  • If you are really feeling a connection to someone ask if you can meet again from time to time? 
  • Is there someone else they recommend you meet in the company?

Have fun!  Networking is a great and fun opportunity if you use it correctly.  By using these tips you should be building relationships and gaining new business because of it sooner than you realize!