Networking. Ugh.

I don’t know about you, but for me, networking is hard, and often feels awkward before it feels right. However, it’s critical to moving your expertise and business forward, and to staying fresh and on top of your game. It’s not something to do just as your start looking for a job, it’s something to do throughout your career, for advice, inspiration, information, and yes, jobs.

I’m always surprised to meet people who love to network ~ but they are out there, and we can learn plenty from them. We checked in with 3 power networkers for their tips and ideas on making it as productive as possible, and maybe a little easier to navigate.

Two things first though:

We’re hosting a Working Women’s Networking Meet Up at We Work Railyard on Tuesday, November 19. Read up and RSVP here.

We wrote up our picks on the best CLT Women’s Networking groups HERE, and will be updating this list asap, as lots of new ones are opening up around the QC. Please comment with your suggestions and favorites too!

Networking Tips:

Corri Smith
Owner + Executive Leader
Black Wednesday
Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

  • Seek different circles, that is, don’t go to the same events all the time. Seek out new events, especially ones where you won’t know anyone.
  • When attending events, branch out from the people you go with and/or meet. No cliques! Set a goal: I want to meet 7 new people while I’m here.
  • Use Linkedin strategically. Connect with the hiring managers and contacts you’d like to work for or with. That way, when you apply, they’ve heard of you. Once they accept you, send a message.
  • Invite people you admire to coffee. Do not frame it as a “pick your brain” session. Tell them something specific you’d like to discuss and offer them value in return. Most often they won’t take you up on providing something in return, but offering to pay for the expert’s time shows that you understand how valuable it is.
  • Pay attention to what’s going on in the news and reach out to people before/when they get publicized.
  • Keep business cards on you — if you are seeking work, consider creating a personal (not your current job) business card to offer out
  • Build a portfolio of your work to easily offer and share with people who seem interested in you. I’d set a goal of how many people to send this link out to weekly.
  • One gal recently sent me a customized video message on linkedin inviting me to meet with her — we are getting coffee next week. I appreciated the custom message and unique delivery. She took her time. So I will give her some of mine.

Arden McLaughlin
Definita Publicity & Marketing
Co-Ambassador CLT KNOW TRIBE
INSTAGRAM

When attending a networking event, especially if you are alone, think of a question to ask the first person you see. Have it relate to what your job is. For instance, I’m in PR, so I like to ask – “How do you get your news?” It helps me see what’s trending for different people in different spaces of life. I also stay away from anything too personal or too self-focused. When at a networking event, my goal is to find a few people with whom I can follow up; not to make any sells. Publicity takes times so I look to build relationships with people over time. If anyone tries to sell me something during a network event, I’m immediately turned off. I want someone to want to know me; not my bottom line. 

Meredith Dean
Founder
The Dean’s List Digital Branding & Career Consulting
i: @mydeanslist i: @merenator

The way I always go into networking events, luncheons, panels, or conferences is understanding that the course of someone’s life could be changed just from one conversation (whether it’s yours or another person’s). That possibility is exciting – not something to be nervous about! If you have nerves, try to change that nervous energy into excited energy! Here are some of my tips:

  • Actively Listen: Nothing can replace in person, genuine connections. Instead of thinking about what you’re going to say while the other person is speaking, take the time to really hear what they are saying. This creates a stronger bond with the person you are connecting with!
  • Use The Find Nearby Feature on LinkedIn: Make sure your Bluetooth is turned on so you can search for people who are around you and immediately connect with multiple people at once. Instructions here. You also can take pictures of each person’s scannable Instagram code.
  • Create Your Digital Brand: Having a personal website and a strong social media presence can be a quick way to solidify a relationship you’ve just made. People will remember someone who has an online portfolio or an aesthetically pleasing look to their Instagram! Sharing your stunning URL and social media handle makes you stand out in a memorable way.
  • Nametags: Think of something fun and creative to put on your nametag that could prompt conversation. Or even write your social media handle! (Ex. @merenator)
  • Pitch Yourself Quickly: Keep it simple. Make sure you let people know what you’re passionate about and what your values are within the first minute. Conveying your values is a great way to see how you can immediately collaborate with the other person and mutually benefit each other! 

Networking Meet Up

Don’t forget to join us at our 11/19 Working Women’s Networking Meet Up at We Work.