If your January was anything like ours, your resolutions might have already gone out the window. But wait. Take a deep breath and start February off on a better foot.
You might have a million goals you’re hoping to accomplish this year, but there is one thing we’re putting at the top of our list. So, if you do nothing else this year, do this.
Network, Network, Network
Too often our goals revolve around being more productive, finishing a project, or asking for a promotion or raise. While all great things to reach for, there is one thing that can set your career off on the right foot like nothing else can – meeting new people. More importantly, meeting the right people. In fact, 80% of professionals, according to a LinkedIn survey, said that networking is important to career success and another 70% were hired at a company due to their connections.
Whether you’re hoping to move up the ladder or find a new position elsewhere, here are five ways to conquer networking this year:
1. Get over yourself.
Yes, networking is awkward. Yes, you’re going to be tired and not want to put on your happy face. But chances are you’ll never regret bumping elbows and learning something new. Some people struggle with the idea that they’re inconveniencing someone, but remember that most people are GLAD to help and will be flattered at your outreach (if you do it the right way – here are a few tips).
2. Be genuine.
Don’t just go into every conversation thinking about what you can get out of it. Remember that these are real people and engage them just like you would at any other social event. Be personable and authentic, asking them questions and… LISTEN. Absorb what they’re saying and repeat it back to them. Plus, if you do it right, you might even make a new friend along the way.
3. Follow up.
This is key to making the most out of every connection. Send a follow-up email. If they were interested in an article you referenced, send them the link! Or maybe they told you about a friend who was struggling with something similar at work… ask them to connect you! If they were helpful in person, they should be more than happy to follow through, so don’t be afraid to ask. And of course, don’t be afraid to help either. Find ways to thank them for their time or assist them in something you may have discussed over coffee or a drink.
What are your favorite tips for networking? We’d love to hear from you!