via Inc.com |
Settling in your current community isn’t enough, especially if you are in the field if business. A new job, customer, client, investor or opportunity could be attained if you know how to widen your network well. If you are naturally sociable, it may be easy for you to do so, but if not, here are tips to do so.
- Join groups
Having a large circle of friends and acquaintances is important and very useful. . “Join college, grad school and even high school alumni groups and follow them on LinkedIn and Facebook (in some cases) to learn about events,” says Alyssa Gelbard, founder of career consulting firm Resume Strategists.
- Do good
Participating in charitable and non-profit events could not only help you make the world a better place, but could also give you a chance to meet accomplished and corporate people. Volunteering also gives you the chance to expand your network.
- Go to events related to your industry/organization
Industry conferences, trade association meetings, educational sessions and meet-ups are great ways to meet people who may be able to help you in many different ways. But don’t forget to also network within your own organization by attending work meetings and volunteering for new projects. Even if you’re the boss, you never know what contacts, family members, or other resources people in your company may have.
- Dress accordingly
When meeting with potential clients or attending an event, wear clothes which fit, making sure that you are not underdressed or overdressed. If you are not sure, ask the people in charge (ex. Event organizer).
- Be attentive
“Don’t appear distracted or uninterested, especially while others are speaking,” Gelbard warns. “You may be creating a lasting negative impression on new contacts, colleagues, clients and business partners. This is key when networking externally, but is just as important when networking within your organization.”
- Put away your phone
“If you’re shy, feel insecure or don’t know how to network, attend an event with a colleague or friend but don’t spend the whole time talking to that person”, Gelbard says. It means you are being disrespectful and is not interested, especially if the one in front of you is talking. But if it is urgent, excuse yourself and attend to that important message or call.
- Modify your conversation style
“For example, consider how you introduce yourself and others,” Gelbard says. “Also, be sure to ask engaging questions about others, such as their job, company or interests. You can also ask about topics relating to the event you’re attending or industry trends.”
After the event, after exchanging calling cards, send a follow-up message, and make sure that you know something about who you are talking to.
- “It is better to give than to receive”
“Relationships are two-way streets, so share resources and make introductions to contacts whom you think may be beneficial for your new connections to meet,” Gelbard advises. Send along articles they may find useful, and offer your expertise or assistance whenever it might be appropriate. A new contact who offers information or help without asking for anything in return will be considered a very valuable contact indeed. “People will see you as a resource and may recommend you to others,” Gelbard says.