I hear from clients and colleagues on a regular basis that networking is the WORST part of their job. Many times the complaint is that they go to so many boring events only to leave tired, tortured, and sometimes tipsy. Networking, it seems, has become a corporate chore. We all know we need to do it but we don't apply any thought or invest much joy into the endeavor. The problem is, we are networking wrong!
Networking is nothing more than building a network. Much like Rome, a network is not built in a day much less, an evening.
At Fringe, we describe networking like building a house. Eventually, a storm will come into your professional life and you will need shelter and support. your network will give you that. But, you have to take your time and be thoughtful in building that house. You have to gather the people and connections who will be there for you when things get rough. That only comes with thoughtful preparation AND time.
Yes, in our instant gratification world, networking still takes time. Don't make the mistake of thinking that attending events means you are networking. The events are just the first step to connecting and building contacts. Read on for our top tips to get you to move from simply attending events to building a bad ass network.
NETWORKING TOP TIPS:
1. Know why you are there. Set a goal or intention to focus your energy throughout the event.
2. Know who you are. Be prepared to tell people what you are all about and what you have to offer.
3. Practice active listening! Don't just listen to respond, listen to learn. Ask lots of questions and really take on what people say.
4. Go for it. Remember that everyone else is just as nervous and dive right in!
5. FOLLOW UP! Don't let more than a week pass without following up with at least one person. Remember, the connection you make at the event is just the first step.
Want to make the most out of your networking? Reach out, we would love to chat!