A recent article by Richard Branson about networking got us thinking about the process of networking and how to best organize your efforts. It can be challenging to consistently put yourself out there and also do the necessary follow up to obtain the best results. For maximum return on time invested, consider using some of our below tips.
- Scheduling: Finding time for networking opportunities can be tough. First, we recommend determining how much time you are willing to commit per month. Once you have a time allocation, research opportunities that occur during your available time, RSVP, and put the appointment on your calendar. If it helps to get you there, invite a friend to join you.
- Business & Calling Cards: You should always have a few cards on you in case a networking opportunity arises. Keep a small pile in your purse or wallet and another in your car. Cards should include relevant contact information, but should also be unique enough to be memorable. If you’re unemployed and looking for a calling card, check out Moo.com, which offers unique social media style cards, as seen in the photo.
- Keeping Track: Remembering who was who and what conversation was important at an event can be difficult. Make it easy on yourself by making a few notes about the person and/or your conversation on the back of each business card that you receive. Once home, transfer the contact information, including the notes to your preferred contact system or phone.
- Ask for Recommendations and Connections: No matter the person you meet, it can’t hurt to ask if they have any recommendations or connections they can make that will serve your needs. For example, if you’re looking for a particular job and meet someone at an industry networking event that doesn’t have any openings, consider asking them if they know of any other agencies that do or how they found their current position.
- Scheduling a Follow Up: The key to great networking is to actually follow up with the contact. In order to streamline this process, attempt to set a follow up meeting or call with the contact while with them. If they can, schedule something for the coming week and get it on both calendars. If the other person cannot commit, immediately mark on your calendar to outreach to them within 2 business days.
- General Contacts: For people you met while networking that aren’t necessarily a right fit for your needs, it is still important to follow up. While they may not be who you are looking to meet, they may be able to connect you with that person. Within 2 business days, send a brief, but friendly email saying you were glad to meet them at the event.
What are your favorite networking tips?