“It occurs to me that our survival may depend upon our talking to one another.” – Dan Simmons, Hyperion
Networking is an effort to build trust and relationships, with the goal helping others.
First establish a goal for participating in networking meetings, then select the groups that you think will help you get what you are looking for Note some will focus on learning, others on making contacts, while there are also volunteering groups, along with those just for making business connections.
10 Tips for Networking with Success
Effective networking is the linking together of individuals who, through trust and relationship building.
Visit as many groups as possible that spark your interest. Notice the tone and attitude of the group. Do the people sound supportive of one another? Does the leadership appear competent? Many groups will allow you to visit two times before joining.
- Always ask open-ended questions while having conversations during networking, to open up the discussion and show listeners that you are interested in them.
- Become known as an excellent resource for others.
- Express what makes what you do unique or different from others doing the same thing.
- Be able to clearly talk about what you do so that you can easily articulate to others.
- Clearly articulate what you are looking for and how others may help you.
- Follow up on referrals you are given.
- If someone gives you a referral, remember your actions are a reflection on them.
- Respect and honor that and your referrals will grow.
- Be generous and call those you meet who may benefit from what you do.
- Make a habit of getting together in person to share ideas.
Using Linked In to Network Effectively
Developing your LinkedIn in strategy is about finding groups that are of interest, then planning what are called “Interaction points.” There is a two-layer approach to LinkedIn.
Layer 1 – Interaction
You may post content within certain industry related LinkedIn groups at least three times per month. Posted content can be a “plug” for your organization or proposing relevant questions to spark engagement with others in the group. These posts will function as a way for us to “create” discussion among others in your industry and give you a chance to connect with others that are interested in your content. Think of two to three possible interaction points or possible prompts each week that can be used as “interaction starters.”
In addition, you can also post press releases, news, related articles and videos to your LinkedIn account. Keep your LinkedIn account fresh and informative.
It is best to rotate between creating discussion among others in groups and updating your personal profile with articles, news, company information, videos, events, etc. Do the research necessary to position yourself as an industry expert both within your existing network of connections and within the industry.
Layer 2 – Monitoring
Find and highlight the top 10 industry groups on LinkedIn and actively monitor 5 per week (rotating each week) for opportunities to interact by answering questions or commenting. While Layer 1 focuses on “creating” discussion and interaction in groups and within the existing network, Layer 2 focuses on taking advantage of opportunities that others create to increase visibility, and to position yourself as an industry expert, providing the opportunity to expand your connections.
It will also be beneficial to remain engaged with connections in your network outside of group activity. You can do this by “liking” relevant posts and/or commenting/offering insight on their posts.