Great networking means creating relationships that will last your entire career. But how do you make it more fun and less work?
Here are five tips that will help take the edge off.
Get to Know Two to Three People Well.
At industry events, instead of merely fattening your stack of business cards by talking to everybody, find shared personal interests to create a stronger bond. It’s not a game of how many people in the room you speak to—it’s about creating meaningful relationships. In this case, less is definitely more!
Fly Solo at Events.
Chat with people you haven’t met. Make a point of sitting with strangers at meals; always choose the table away from where your friends or co-workers are sitting. Tip:Walk up to someone you know who is speaking to people you do not know, and become part of their conversation.
Run a Group.
Help run a trade association or networking group. You’ll get to know the stakeholders well, and they’ll introduce you to others.
Speak on a Panel.
Work on becoming a thought leader or a subject matter expert. Offer to speak at trade association events (some are “pay to play” but might still be wise investments). Put yourself in front of a crowd, and those who connect with your passion and presentation will seek you out!
Use Social Media.
When you produce quality content about your expertise via a blog, LinkedIn, Facebook, an e-newsletter or video, the content can serve as an icebreaker with others. (Sharing links to your social pages in your content is a great way to extend your reach!) Ask questions, start conversations, and take interest in what your peers are posting.
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