It’s no secret networking is a vital part of your professional success. Opening the doors to new, strategic connections can take work – and a lot of practice. But in time, learning how to effectively network can be one of your biggest assets.
Simply attending events and meeting face-to-face with other professionals is a good start – but can only get you so far. You need to present yourself in the right manner, say the right things, and follow-up the right way. Key to this is effectively communicating your message. Here are some tips to get you on the right track:
Identify your audience: Networking is all about marketing yourself. Just like marketers do with product launches and creating brand value, you need to know your audience and position yourself in the right way.
Before you dive into the face-to-face meetings, try to understand who you’re connecting with. Do some homework, learning about the person’s career and his/her own company. Starting the conversation here builds a strong foundation out of the gates.
Outline your goals: Like any sound business looking to succeed, you need your own objectives. What are you looking to achieve from meeting that person? How will it benefit you and your organization? It’s also a two-way street; think about the goals of the person you’re looking to connect with. Networking means creating mutually beneficial relationships.
Solidify your message: This is the most important step. Define what your main conversation will be shaped around, and the information people will want others to take away from it. Practice your pitch beforehand. There’s a lot of clutter and noise at events, so you’ll want to stand out. It’s okay to repeat your name – and the key points you want them to walk away with.
Keep it consistent: Always keep your messaging – about yourself and your organization – the same, no matter the setting or location. Keep it consistent. Tell the same story from event to event, as well as within expanding online forums like LinkedIn and Facebook.
Want to put these tips into action? Check out the Chamber’s upcoming networking events in Greater Boston.