Let’s be honest….networking is hard work. It is especially hard work since we spent the last year with the least amount of human interaction we have had in our lives. Knowing how to effectively network is key to building professional relationships and in today’s crowded job market, the phrase, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”, could not be more true. NACE Experience is next week, so here are some tips to help guide you through effective business networking and dipping your toes into the people pond again!
- Understand your goal
- What are you wanting to accomplish with networking and your relationships? Is it building your client database? Honing in on a future job or career path? Maybe it’s just for casual talk and conversation. Whatever it is, try to keep in mind the WHY behind what you are doing. It can help guide your conversation and determine your follow up afterwards as well.
- Relax and keep in mind, we are all a little uncomfortable.
- Networking and meeting new people can be scary and intimidating. Remember, it is not just you that feels that way. The people you are meeting and speaking to are ALSO a little nervous. So, take a deep breathe and try to be as cool, calm and collected as possible.
- Keep it relatable!
- Keep your conversation relatable and interesting to the person you are meeting. This way it not only makes the conversation more fun and engaging for you both, but it makes it easier to remember who you have met and what they do and how it relates to you as well! How can you help them? Make sure the conversation is not just about you, your job, your career, but about them, how you can help and work with them as well.
- Document your connections
- After meeting a few people, take the time to document who they are, where they work or what they do and their contact information. At NACE Experience, you will be on system overload, so do not rely on yourself to remember it all. Have a system in place to take notes or document your valuable information.
- Follow up!
- This tip seems the easiest, but it is the most forgotten. Follow up with your new friends! Touch base with them, send a quick note, email, text or call soon after arriving home from conference. And make it a point to keep in touch with them. Again, our relationships have incredible influence in our careers and this is a great way to strengthen opportunities for yourself and others.
I am so excited to see everyone at the NACE National Conference in Vegas, and at our monthly DFW NACE meetings. And I hope these tips & tricks can help with your business and professional relationships. Please realize that you might be a little rusty and it might feel more uncomfortable than you remember, but don’t let that stop you! Meet some new people and squeeze the ones you already know (safely). Our event industry is dependent on strong, healthy relationships, so let’s do it!
“Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.” – Bill Nye