A recent article on Networking reminded me that what I use to do and what I tell others to do are entirely different. Networking use to be going to professional events, handing out business cards, sitting at tables with strangers and making sure everyone knows who you are…in order to get a customer/client or land a new job. That took an overabundance of confidence and energy.
The professional scene may contain some of that, but networking today is more of an online presence in establishing relationships. The article, 4 Steps for Effective Online Networking, reminds you how important using social media, whether Facebook, LinkedIn or other online group, is to your career:
The rise of social media hasn’t changed the fact that successful human beings get even further ahead based on the strength of their networks. In fact, social media gives you the power to connect with people who you would never have the opportunity to converse with in the physical world.
A review of the article:
1. Look for ways to expand your networks!
Social media sites — especially the big ones like Facebook (Facebook) and LinkedIn (LinkedIn) — are a networker’s dream. LinkedIn in particular allows you to establish a professional network consisting of your connections and your connections’ connections, automatically linking you to thousands of people in your industry and related ones.
2. Know what you want, and what you can offer.
Many people dislike networking because they think asking a veritable stranger for help is an imposition. As it’s human nature to want to help someone, I think you’ll find that most people will be receptive, provided you approach them the right way.
3. Contact the person privately.
Once you’ve gotten to know the person a bit, it’s time to get more personal. Send a warm-up message to re-introduce yourself and cite recent activities of theirs that you may have followed. Try for a more intimate angle (for example, you can comment that you have a child who’s the same age, or that you also enjoy skiing and recently tried a terrific new resort in Colorado).
4. Follow up regularly.
It’s your responsibility to keep the lines of communication open. Did your contact give you any advice or suggest a course of action? If so, touch base every so often to remind her who you are and keep her apprised of your progress.
Check out the article, and then build your professional network with confidence.