Networking Tips for the Modern Professional
Networking has changed so much with the explosion of social media fuelled by online communities, virtual events, and publishing platforms that there’s no longer an excuse to be bad at networking. Although networking tips have pretty much remained the same.
You may still picture a cocktail event filled with suits throwing business cards at each other when you hear the word “networking”. Although networking events still have value, there are much more efficient ways to build your network in today’s hyper-connected world.
The time has come to change the way we perceive networking. There’s no doubt that growing a large network of the right relationships can help you achieve your goals in life, faster.
From sales and marketing professionals to recruiters and entrepreneurs, networking is one of the key drivers of career success. There are literally thousands of books written about networking because so many successful leaders truly understand its value.
Modern Networking Tips for Modern Professionals:
Networking Tip #1: Define Your Purpose
One of the biggest mistakes people make is networking without a purpose. Whether you’re looking for a job or a co-founder for your new business, you must outline your goals clearly. There’s nothing modern about this tip, but without it, your efforts are like shooting darts into a black hole. Like any goal setting, be sure to think both short and long term while keeping your number of goals to a manageable amount.
Networking Tip #2: Build Your Lists
Every goal you define will have a list of people, companies, communities, and events that can help you along the way. For each of your goals, start to build lists of everyone that could potentially help you out. At this stage, just write down their names, basic contact info and perhaps website URLs to keep it simple. Start by looking at your existing network and build outwards from there. These same tactics have helped sales and marketing teams build million dollar businesses.
Networking Tip #3: Do Your Research
It’s time to get familiar with the people, companies, and communities that can help you achieve your goals. Write down websites, blogs, influencers, social media accounts and anything else that you should be following to stay in the loop. There are tools you can use to help, but a simple excel sheet would work too. The most successful people in the world already understand this. Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, for example, spends 80% of his day reading.
Networking Tip #4: Create Your Process
This is by far the hardest part of networking in a modern world. You’ve got your list and understand where you need to focus, but how do you work this into your already busy day? From social media sites to personal networking tools, you’ll want to find what works best for you without getting overwhelmed.
Regardless of your networking goals, here’s a few tactics to start building your process:
- Subscribe to relevant email lists – blogs, news, influencers etc.
- Follow relevant social media accounts on a network you regularly use.
- Join relevant groups and communities online.
- Track relevant local event and groups using a tool like Meetup.com.
Networking Tip #5: Find Reasons to Reach Out
Networking takes time to pay off, so it’s better to get started sooner than later. If there’s one key takeaway from all of these tips, it’s “find generous reasons to reach out” to the people who can help you achieve your goals. Depending on the person you’re trying to connect with, there’s always a few ways you can reach out to build authentic relationships.
Here are a few ways that modern networking pros reach out to people on their list:
- Connect with them on social media to stay up to date and interact with their updates.
- Keep track of your contacts personal and professional interests and share relevant news articles with them to start a conversation.
- Comment on blog posts from influencers you want to reach and help share their content to get on their radar.
- Find out if people on your list are attending the events you’re following and reach out beforehand to break the ice.
Get Started Before it’s too Late
As you can see, modern networking leverages all of the existing tools at your fingertips such as social media, blogs, online communities and more. Instead of attending events with the hopes of running into someone that can help you, it’s time to get proactive and start growing the right relationships. These networking tips are available for anyone with an internet connection and have proven to be effective over and over again.
What other networking tips do you use to grow the right relationships in the modern world?