It’s not easy for everyone to know how to meet and schmooze with business connections. Networking is an art that takes practice. Most people don’t wake up one day knowing how to start up conversations and sell their business on the spot. You need guidance, including proven tactics that get the job done right.
Your schedule’s hectic and you’re always bouncing around from one assignment to the next. It’s important to not only know how to network, but also what to do after you’ve met a new connection. Balancing interaction with full-on lifestyle requires even further maneuvering. See networking tips for busy professionals.
Utilize Social Media
Social media is the perfect outlet for networking without needing to leave your office. You have the opportunity to network on social media throughout your workday. See who your friends and colleagues are connected to and if you’d be interested in meeting any of those people. Ask your friends to introduce you through social media and then meet with the person face-to-face. Associate over social media with people who you’ve met with in the past or at other networking events. If you make an important business connection, do not be afraid to add them on LinkedIn. Not only can they endorse your skills, but it can make you seem more reputable when future employers are looking over your profile. However, stay clear from adding everyone who sends you an invitation. It is not Facebook, and you do not want to a collection of strangers who do not offer anything in return. However, LinkedIn is a great way to stay in touch and connect over business.
Use your Phone
Use your phone to your advantage. You carry it with you wherever you go as it is, so make sure it’s helping you at your job. All you need is an address book app and you’ll be on your way to creating a network of professionals who you can call on. All of your contact information will be automatically updated to include job title, company, industry and location. This type of address book can even scan business cards to quickly add new contacts. The search function allows you to find who you’re looking for speedily and get in touch instantly.
You can’t remember to do every task on your own. That’s why smartphones were invented, to help you do your job better. Use technology to set reminders on your apps for who to call at a certain time. Put it in your calendar so you don’t forget. Let your phone do the work for you and bring it to your attention when it’s time to reach out to a contact. It’s easy to lose touch with people, but you don’t have to let that happen if you’re good about setting your reminders.
Alternatively, set reminders on your Outlook or Gmail accounts, as well as any calendar apps you may use. It may sound like overkill, but it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to punctuality in business. Just remember to turn them off once they ring, and avoid hitting ‘snooze.’ You don’t want it to buzz again in ten minutes when you’re in the middle of a meeting or giving training to employees.
Switching contact information with someone isn’t the last piece of the puzzle. Networking is a continuous occurrence that requires attention to detail and follow through. Collecting a bunch of business cards at a reception doesn’t mean your job is done. This is the start of your relationship, and it’s up to you to make sure it continues. Use social media to connect to each other’s profile. Use the new contact’s business card and add them to your address book. When you have time, give them a call and ask them to lunch. Once you’ve met up and spoken to one another, continue to keep in contact. The point of networking is to ensure your connections are long lasting. You never know when you’ll need them in the future, whether it’s for personal reasons or for your business as a whole. The goal is to keep the door open and to continuously be touching base.
Networking takes repetition and a willingness to put yourself out there. It’s an ongoing process that requires thoughtfulness and perseverance. Make sure you’re well organized, and ensure your connections are happy. Keep a professional approach when networking, otherwise you may create a bad reputation. These are networking tips for busy professionals.