This weeks post suggests a different way of looking at networking and provides tips for how to effectively follow up with people whom you wish to be in your network.
Many of you have probably heard the phrase, “it’s not about what you know, it’s who you know and who knows you.” With that, you know that to be successful it is critical to have a network. When you think about networking you either experienced or envisions it being a big room full of people with business cards and having many phony conversations. Personally, this doesn’t inspire me at all and it gives many of us anxiety. I want to encourage you to rethink how you network. For me, I see networking as meeting new and interesting people then maintaining those relationships. Also, think about how you approach it, go into those events understanding what you can contribute to others not how others can help you. When you meet new people and listen to them share about their lives, you can be thinking of what you have in your arsenal that can improve or add value to them. Effective networking has to be mutually beneficial, like having a bank account. In order to take money out you must have deposited money first. Research says that on average it takes 18-24 months for someone in your network to truly add value to your life and that is based on the ‘small deposits’ you are making.
Meeting new people alone doesn’t mean that they are in your network. Many people don’t follow up after the initial meeting. I want to share three suggestions for what to do once you have met some interesting people that you want to be in your network.
First, follow up in the first 4-12 hours after you have met them either by email or a handwritten note in a way that is unique to you so that you are set apart from the others. Secondly, connect with them on a professional platform such as LinkedIn, comment on their posts, like something they have shared, and be top of mind for them as you connect your comments to how you first met them. Thirdly, think about an article, a blog, or something you feel that person would be interested in share it and shows that you add value to them. These are some tips to ensure that if you ever need a reference, an introduction, or an opportunity arises that they come open up for you, it is an easy ask for their assistance as you have poured into them and they are able to seamlessly return the favor.
Rethink the act of networking by knowing who you are, what value you could bring, and being intentional about who you would like to meet and be in your network. After that, follow up and maintaining the relationship is key to your success!
Dominique Jordan Turner is passionate about helping first generation college graduates to become successful first generation professionals. She shares what she calls the "unwritten rules" that aren't taught to you in college. Follow DJT on social media @DJTspeaks and subscribe on her website www.DominiqueJordanTurner.com for upcoming webinars and live events.