Networking Crash Course 201: Go from Coy to Seriously Connected in No Time!

Networking 201:

Who Are the Best People to Know?
Almost everyone is interesting in their own special way, but if you’re looking to build your career, you need to meet as many people in the working world as you can. Events in the industry of your interest are the perfect place to develop your network with people who are share similar interests . If you’re interested in advertising, online media and or marketing – check out OMMA – they organize events all over the US several times a year.  Company execs and staff come to these events to meet new people and learn about current trends.  During any break, luncheon or cocktail hour make it a point to talk to at least one person. Look for someone you saw on a panel and ask them a question. Most likely they will be interested to hear your opinions on the subject of their discussion.

How Do I Meet Them?
Meeting people can (and should) happen everywhere you go!  Hotel lobbies, elevators, restaurants, coffee lines and shuttle buses are the easiest. Anytime you’re standing around professionals there’s an opportunity to start a conversation.  At a cocktail party, meet new people around the food, drinks, or registration.  At lunches and dinners, choose your seats strategically.  Sit yourself near interesting looking or sounding people. At trade shows or presentations, walk right up to the people speaking or exhibiting and ask a question.  At any organized event, ask the staff to help you meet the right people.  Connecting people at the event makes the event more successful for everyone.  When networking online, comment about something you found interesting on the profile to get them to engage in a conversation.

Build a Killer Network
Once you get into the swing of networking, start assessing your progress. Think about the types of people you already know and who’s missing.  What types of new people would be helpful to meet? Then go find “connectors” (people who naturally connect people for fun, their job, or both).  They can typically introduce you to people you want to know or at least give you some advice to get you a lot closer.  Meet people who make things happen.  Surround yourself with them and you’re sure to raise the bar on both what and who you know.

Tackling Events
Every event is different so devise your plan of attack to ensure you can get the most out of them.  Go through any event material beforehand to learn the schedule and Google anyone or any company that looks intriguing. Remember to get some sleep the night before.  Dress to impress. Try to always carry business cards, a nice pen, and always have something to write on. Practice how you’re going to introduce yourself in a quick and compelling way.  Know what you’re looking to accomplish before you get there and make it happen. Make some great contacts in the beginning and you’ll have friendly faces to turn to the rest of the day or night.

For tips on building your pitch take the YSN Self-Assessment and get a report all about you — use the insights to craft a personal pitch using the worksheets.

Written by, Jennifer Kushell

YSN – Expert Advice on Career Advancement and Tools for Professional Development