Having moved countries and cities a few times you can pretty much say my life has been one big networking event! From forming new friendships, to landing jobs and growing my business – making the right connections are crucial!
By now, you’re probably very familiar and good at networking too! However, after wasting some much valuable time on a few networking coffee dates recently, and talking with others who had similar experiences, I realized that most of us can use a refresher on networking to help us avoid some time sucking mistakes.
It’s so important to have a good networking strategy: a) because it will save you time and b) because in the end you can’t accomplish anything without good connections who can help you!
Here are 3 mistakes you’re making while networking:
1) You only network for yourself:
When you’re at a networking event, stop thinking solely about what it is that you need to get out of it. Start being curious about the other person and how you can perhaps help them too! It’s not always a scratch your back you scratch mine situation. Sometimes you’ll help one person and then the karma will come back to you from a completely different angle. So serve others and let Karma take care of the rest for you.
2) You have a long boring intro about yourself:
Yawn… seriously!? No no no no no! Lead in with something interesting about your job, something other people can relate or understand. Just think how boring it is when someone just says: “My name is Blah and I’m a divorce lawyer.” Someone’s deduction may go: smart, boring, and great at charging people to wreck their lives. Now if this Divorce Lawyer would have said:”I help people get out of their marriages with minimal financial damage,” they would have had my attention.
Or a Marketing consultant:”I help small business owners be the center of attention in the market place.” You see how that immediately pricks your curiosity and automatically raises a few questions? In having a cool little intro, you’ll make sure that you engage people in conversation and no longer have to stand there trying to make awkward conversation!
3) You only network with people in your industry:
If you’re a business owner, this one is crucial! Start attending networking events that you know your ideal clients will attend. Don’t just go to networking events for other business owners (unless of course that’s your target market). Really spend some time thinking where you’ll get the most ROI for your time! (And hint to all the single ladies out there: you can even do this little exercise to figure out where you can find your ideal man. Example: If you’re looking for a well traveled fella with a more international social circle, you’re probably going to want to visit some bars near Kendall Square vs if you were looking for a sport loving Boston born and raised boy – which most likely would be hanging out in Southie. ;P)
So whether you’re looking for a new job or a hunk, make sure you know:
1) What you’re looking to get out of the networking event.
2) How to introduce yourself in a more interesting way that provokes conversation.
3) How you can help others and add value for them with referrals or introduction!
4) Who and where your ideal client/future bosses would be socializing or networking.
Now I’d love to hear from you! What are your best networking tips for us. Tell us below so we can all learn how to get better at this important step to help us fast track our careers!