Being able to network confidently is a valuable skill that will help you make connections that will exponentially aid your career. From being the first to hear about unadvertised opportunities, to getting top-tier recommendations from people in the industry, don't sleep on forging impactful connections.
It’s also a valuable way to grow your knowledge base, as chatting to other people with more, or different, experience, is a great way to learn.
But it can be hard to know where to start with networking, if you’ve not yet done it. Here are some tips to help you get cracking with it.
Don’t feel like you need to attend an event and meet every single person there. Start by reaching out to friends, family, and colleagues (both old and current). Send them a request on LinkIn, with a simple message just asking to connect. Don't overthink it.
You could also look out for online communities, or start to look for smaller networking events. Workshops or interactive sessions are a good place to start as the event will be a natural ice-breaker.
The more people you chat to, the wider your network will become and people will introduce you to others.
Before you spark up a conversation, or go to a networking event, think about what it is you’d like to learn.
You’ll also feel more confident if you know what it is you’d like to ask people, so spend some time thinking about this before you get stuck into the conversation.
People will know if you’re being fake or using them as a means to an end. So make sure you’re being yourself when chatting with people.
Focus on getting to know people and asking questions you genuinely wan tto know the answer to, rather than what you think you should be asking. Build relationships, don’t just sell yourself.
Give back & Follow up
It goes both ways; if you’d like help from someone, you need to give back. Be willing and keen to help others with your advice and support.
Send a quick Linkedin message or email to follow up. It’s really important you don’t forget to do this. Thank them for their time, and let them know you’re keen to stay in touch. Show an interest in what they’re doing, and check in every now and again.
You’re still going to have to put the effort in, but following these tips should make it easier to know where to start.
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Be confident; you’ve got this. 👊
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