If you are currently in a job you absolutely hate, between opportunities, or launching your own business and interested in meeting new contacts or seeking out investors, these tips will help you be a networking pro.
- Identify ideal networking opportunities. Subscribe to newsletters of professional organizations in your field, join a Meet Up or similar online group that holds in-person events, ask friends where they enjoy networking most and ask if you can join them, find people on social media who are where you want to be and attend events they recommend, become a member of groups on LinkedIn, or make a list of individuals you’d like to meet and invite them to one-on-one coffee dates for an informational interview.
- Begin with some research. Think about the types of people you are interested in meeting. In Pittsburgh there are tech happy hours, alumni events, professional association breakfasts, and organizations dedicated to those interested in politics, occupation, community service, or just plain old networking. Make a list of the events that would be most attractive to you and stay on top of their event calendars.
- Schedule, schedule, schedule. If it’s not on the calendar it might as well be forgotten. Make networking a priority and you will achieve your goals. Schedule at least one networking opportunity per week, even if it is a phone call or looking for connections on LinkedIn.
- Go with a goal in mind. Unless you are walking into a friend’s birthday party, you typically have goals in mind when meeting with large groups of people. Set a goal for each event and opportunity so that you can move yourself forward toward your ultimate goals.