Gemrick’s Guide: How to do networking effectively
The best time for anyone to start building a network is now. As a student, we’re often given the luxury of connecting with many professionals who are more than willing to extend advice and help build a network of connections.
Ever hear the adage, “It’s not always what you know, but rather who you know?” For some professions, the phrase rings true, and there isn’t a better time than now to get started.
Networking, as presented by Business Insider, is important because knowing the right people can get one places that might not be reached otherwise.
Eventually, a good, expansive network will allow a person to be able to know two individuals with needs that they can both provide for each other. As a strong networker, a person can connect the two, who otherwise would still be on a search.
It’s about building and maintaining good relationships. With that mindset, a good networker can become a great one.
Not to be confused with having a huge ego, confidence will get people noticed. Being able to back up confidence by showcasing one’s best skills will persuade employers that you will be a fantastic asset to the team.
Speaking eloquently is a valuable skill that everyone should learn. No one wants to be too quiet or be constantly misheard.
Also, ensure that you speak pleasantly; this will come in handy if there’s an interview offer and it’s conducted over the phone. The best way to knock this down is to practice. Going to networking events is practice and eventually, the idea gets clearer.
Come to any networking event armed with smart questions. Do a plenty of background research on the industry of interest and keep an eye out for the big players in the game.
Ask yourself who the top companies, leaders and industry influences are. Keep an open mind on questions because the ones that stump people will help a novice be remembered.
A simple Google search will pull generic most-asked questions in the results, so try to add your own twist or cater it to your needs.
Diversify the network
A strong following on Twitter or 500+ connections on LinkedIn pales in comparison to the real-world relationships people have. There’s no way to maintain that many connections face-to-face, but as Inc. Magazine points out, merging the two worlds and dissolving that boundary will strengthen one’s network. Letting the online and offline worlds interact will multiply the value a person has in their network.
One of the most important things to do is maintain these relationships. Whether it’s a quick coffee meeting, lunch, email or a phone call, these small acts will drive the relationship.
Even if you feel like you’ve lost, don’t be afraid to rekindle the relationship. It’s better late than never.
Let me part with something I’ve been told about networking luncheons: no one at these events is actually there to eat. It just happens to be lunchtime, so there’s going to be food; nothing good comes out of eating a three-course meal without conversing or connecting with anyone at the table.
People are there to meet new people and expand their networks. The person who you didn’t make an effort to introduce yourself just might have been the key to landing your dream job.
Opinion columnist Gemrick Curtom is a public relations senior and may be reached at [email protected]