Networking: Taking the Extra Step

Posted by on Oct 16, 2015 in ComLead, Organizational Leadership

For anyone who has attended college or even read an article on being successful, you know networking is always mentioned.  I can’t count how many times I have heard from various professors or read in various articles that networking is a kay factor in success.  But the problem is not many people know how to go about doing it and if you do get up enough courage to attend an event and make the connection, what do you do afterwards?

Networking unfortunately is not as simple as showing up to a gathering, exchanging cards, and then going home.  Tohandshake make the most of your experience and actually develop a connection there is much more work that must be done.

I read an article on LinkedIn this week by Jennefer Witter (CEO, PR Expert, Author, and the list goes on) that actually gave some helpful tips to making the most of your networking experience. Witter listed five important follow-up tips for networking.

  • Prioritize- If you collect 20 cards, narrow it down to the 10 that make the most sense for you and your area of interest/work.
  • Social Media- In today’s work we use social media for more hours a day then we probably spend physically talking to people. Use this to your advantage and connect on LinkedIn.
  • Invitations- Invite the people you met to an event your hosting or one you are attending and think they may enjoy.
  • Something Nice- Show them that you are keeping them in mind and reach out once a week or even twice a month if you are busy. Witter suggests sending an article they may be interested in.
  • Ask- one of the most important things to remember about successful networking is that it is not all about you. In order to develop of positive relationship you need to also offer your help to the other person.

Number 5 stood out to me in particular because it is not the first time I have heard this advice and I think it is truly the most important.  I am currently reading Give and Take by Adam Grant in my Leadership course and he talks about networking and the benefits to doing so as a giver not a taker.

The people who have the most success in networking and develop the soundest connections are those that are just as concerned about improving the other person’s life as they are their own. Grant even argues that they are the people who are not concerned with helping themselves at all but solely making the lives of others better. At the end of the day, people will dismiss you if they feel you are only looking to take advantage of their resources but they will help you if they see you genuinely want to help them as well.

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