There is no longer any doubt about the many benefits of networking. How can you use it to stand out and, especially, to avoid missing opportunities? Here are five strategies to achieve this!
Have a clear plan
It’s not enough to dress up! Before the meeting, make sure to review the goals. If possible, take a look at the list of people present. Do you want to make contact with this person? Does this company appeal to you?
With this information in mind, try to take advantage of exchanges without being too focused on the results. Take the time for discussion without rushing into signing a contract! The process is also attractive, and can lead to some very nice surprises.
Know how to sell yourself
“What do you do in life?” There’s no question of answering with an interminable discourse… and losing the listener’s interest. An effective response should briefly and concisely include these points:
- your current situation;
- a summary of your professional background;
- your areas of interest;
- what you are seeking at the moment;
- how the other person can help you.
Of course, make sure to return the favour to the person in front you by listening… and trying to help him to the best of your ability.
Respect your nature
Getting out of your comfort zone can bring some interesting opportunities, but you still have to present yourself honestly. A more introverted person can have nice meetings without forcing themselves to flit from group to group. If you don’t recognize yourself in a corporate culture, there’s no need to lie for fear of displeasing. Are you coming out of a more difficult professional period? You can discuss lessons learned from this experience.
Authenticity will always pay off more than wearing a mask… which will ultimately disappoint.
Personalized follow up
Getting in touch with a simple email is good. Doing it in a more friendly way is better. Whether it’s sending a person a link to an interesting article on a topic that has been discussed, sharing a relevant contact with a new acquaintance, or simply sending an invitation to discuss more over coffee, there are many ways to stand out… and not see your email land in the spam box.
Developing your network… at the right place
Time is an extremely scarce commodity and it would be a shame to lose it through ill-targeted events. Before confirming your presence at a meeting, make sure that it can really help you achieve your career goals.