We all know that a success factor for any professional is the breadth and depth of their network. As we to return to normal, it’s time to start thinking about how we can start reboot our professional networks. We need to be less passive in the months ahead to reenergize! Here are four tips to get you back into networking.
Get more active on LinkedIn
Brush up your LinkedIn profile by ensuring your avatar is a professional picture, that you’re About section and experiences areas are updated, and that the headline of your profile section succinctly describes who you are or what you are looking for. LinkedIn is the most important social media platforms for business professionals, and if you’re not active, you’re most likely missing opportunities to connect with people who could help you. There is no need to post multiple times a day or randomly comment on as many posts as possible. Start with going out once week and commenting on at least one post. Inc has a great article on the dos and don’ts of networking via LinkedIn.
Plan and commit to networking opportunities
If you are interested in expanding your network, the first step is to find some relevant networking opportunities. A great place to start is to attend a chapter meeting at one of the UMSA member groups. Once you have identified a meeting you want to attend, mark it on your calendar and commit to attending. By making time on your schedule, you are more likely to make it happen.
When you get to the meeting, it is tempting to spend time talking to people you already know. To expand your network, you need to commit to speak to at least one new person at each meeting. Remember to be confident and genuine.
Deepen existing relationships
As your reboot your professional network it’s important to not only add people to the network, but also nurture your existing contacts. Don’t wait until you need something to reach out to an important contact. Instead, intentionally reach out to a colleague when you don’t need anything.
A great tool would be to develop a monthly networking lunch schedule. Pick about six people you would like to build a better relationship with in the next 12 months. Pick one day a month for your networking lunch/coffee. Remember basic networking tips like making sure you’re offering value during the conversation, asking them about their interests and accomplishments and using good eye contact. Don’t forgot to follow up within a few days and thank them for the meeting and suggest another lunch/coffee within three months.
Set networking goals
Set an achievable goal for networking during the year. It could be that you want to have coffee with one new person a month. Maybe it’s that you’d like to be introduced to someone you admire in the field. Or it could be that you want to set up weekly networking meetings with a career coach to talk about networking goals for the future. Whatever your goals are, set them and stick to them.
Whether you are networking in-person, at a large event or through email correspondence, never underestimate the power of a good thank you, either. Let others know when they have made a positive impact on your career and thank them for offering up time to help you achieve success. Likewise, you never know when someone you meet will turn up again in life; be mindful to stay positive, stay professional and keep your bridges intact. The industry may seem big now, but as you get to know key players, it will appear to get smaller and smaller. Sometimes, who you know is just as important as what you know.
What networking and career-growth tips do you have? Share with everyone in the comments, below. Together, we can grow!