Can you believe that we’re almost a quarter of the way through 2015? It’s crazy how time flies when you’re busy. The real question is “What exactly is it that you’ve been busy doing? Was one of your resolutions to make positive career changes? Maybe find a new job? It’s time to focus and get back on track.
As things like social media make us ever-present to others, the opportunities for introductions are almost endless. One thing my parents always said was “It’s all about who you know.” They were right.
It’s all about networking. But networking can be scary when you’re not used to talking about yourself
Here are some tips to help you get out there and grow your connections.
1. Be Confident!
Confidence is definitely key in these situations. And if you don’t have it, you need to fake it ’til you make it, Always smile and stand tall. Just say hello and introduce yourself and the conversation will unfold naturally. The more time you spend talking to others, those nervous butterflies will settle down and everything will get a little easier.
2. Know your business.
You know how you’re supposed to practice interview questions before meeting a potential employer, and one of the first questions that comes up is “Tell me about yourself?” This is still applicable in networking. People are going to ask you what your job is. They want to know what you do. You’ll want a more engaging answer than ” I’m a volunteer coordinator, etc.” A better answer is ” I help nonprofits by interviewing potential volunteers and placing them within the organization.” It lets the person know exactly where you stand professionally. And chances are, they probably know someone “you should talk to” in the same field. Score.
3. Attendance is not required but highly suggested.
If you’re regularly attending events geared toward the industry that you want to be in, you become more well-known. Being well-known at networking events can increase the number of opportunities that come your way because people see that you’re out taking things seriously. Being present signals others that you’re here to support and they’ll support you in return.
4. Always follow up with the people you connect with!
You spent all day talking to some great people and even exchanged contact information– use it! After the event, you should send an email just say that it was great meet them and you look forward to seeing them at the next event. You could even set up a coffee or lunch date to reconnect. This how you build your contact list– by being available and appreciative. Just don’t promise to get in contact and then fail to do so. It’s not a good look for your personal brand.
So, there you have it. Remember, you miss out on 100% of all the chances you don’t take, so get out there and make it happen!