In one of my previous posts I wrote about why you should find your professional women´s networking group. I hope you followed my advice and that you already gave it a try. How was it?
Don´t worry if at the beginning you don’t see the benefits, they will come. My experience over these last years have shown me that networking is an art with some basic rules which can be taught and trained. I would like to share with you some tips that could help you mastering your networking events.
- Find a professional network close to you: In every city, there are some. Check what they offer, what kind of events, how often, who organizes it, who are their partners. Quality is crucial: good professional networking groups attract interesting people (PWG or Impact Hub for example).
- Prioritize networking: This is like your new fitness regime. You will not see any benefits after one session. This requires time investment. Schedule networking into your agenda and work your other activities around it. Do you have kids? Book your babysitter in advance and put this schedule into your partner´s agenda as well.
- Go prepared: Have your business cards ready, train your elevator pitch, work on a good handshake, do background research on the speaker and the group you are joining. First impressions are crucial!
- Network! Don´t go with a friend and spend the whole event chatting to people you already know. Go to people you don’t know and start a conversation. You are all there for the same reasons, to increase your professional network. Go for it!
- Follow up: Now that you have met some new interesting people and exchanged business cards with them, make sure you send them a nice email and connect via LinkedIn. Do not send those horrible standard messages, but personalize your invitation to connect with some elements you have shared during your conversation.
Those are my five key tips on networking in a nutshell. I could speak about every one for hours, but it makes no sense. The best is to go and try it for yourself and learn by doing!