How To Network Like A Professional
When it comes to business, we’re often told that it’s not about what you know, but who you know. It seems this may be true. In fact, a survey in 2016 found that as much as 85% of all jobs are filled via networking! So if you’re on the search for your next job, it’s definitely worth trying to build your list of contacts.
But making valuable relationships can seem difficult in the business world – particularly when you’re relying on social networks such as LinkedIn, where you won’t actually get the chance to talk face-to-face.
Thankfully, this post will explain how you can network like a professional and extend your circle of personal contacts.
Strike up casual conversations
Even the simplest of conversations – about a mutual friend, or even the fact you’re wearing the same Aviation watches– can lead to meaningful connections. If you’re at a convention, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that every remark you make must be about work. Although the event is strictly professional, people are also looking to enjoy themselves – that’s why there’s usually a bar!
In fact, this can be one of the best places to position yourself. By standing near the bar, you’ll be able to catch people as they make their way back into the crowd with their drinks. This way, you’ll encounter a high number of people without having to keep circulating around the room.
Send cold emails
We’re often told to avoid cold emails at all costs – but the reality is, it can be hard to approach someone without them, especially if you’re at the start of your career. So, the trick is to write emails that don’t seem cold.
Make a list of people in your industry whom you admire and would love to talk to. If their contact details are available online, you’ve got almost nothing to lose by sending them an email asking if you can buy them a coffee. To stop the email from seeming impersonal, make sure to include (briefly) the following details:
- Who you are, where you are in your career, and what your goals are
- Why you admire their work and what you would love to learn from them
- A suggested time-frame in which to meet
Prepare an elevator pitch
Networking isn’t just a case of meeting the right people – you also need to make a lasting positive impression. Being remembered for the right reasons will mean your new connections might think of you when they’re next hiring for a role, or know somebody who is.
A great way to do this is by preparing a killer elevator pitch. This is a short, 30-second speech which outlines your business proposition and explains what your company goals are. Typically used by start-up entrepreneurs searching for investors, don’t be afraid to create your own version if you’re simply looking to develop your personal career.
Effective elevator pitches should seem naturally fluent – the sweet spot between over-rehearsed and stuttering. Explain who you are, what you do, and what you’re looking to achieve. If applicable, include memorable details such as facts or statistics to stick in people’s minds.
From making friends to finding your dream job, these tips will help you maximise the benefits of professional networking.