Everyone needs to network. And done right, networking can be the most effective way to build your personal and corporate brand, achieve new business opportunities and further your career. Lambert’s Tiffany Jones shares her TOP 10 tips and tricks on how to make the most of networking and create real connections.
- Be willing! Look for good events that you are interested in AND that you know are a good fit for the agency. You have to start with the right attitude. If you think of it as a job, it will not be fun.
- Be present! Sometimes your presence at the right event will speak volumes for you. You will become a recognizable face and that may lead to ice-breaker conversations. I remember a coach saying, “You don’t have a chance to win if you’re not even in the race.” Sorry, but opportunity doesn’t always come knocking. Sometimes it is all about being at the right place at the right time.
- Be yourself! “I love those shoes!” When making an introduction, talk like you’re talking to a good friend. People are turned off when they feel like they are being pitched. Some of your best networking opportunities will come when you’re not even trying. I have had great conversations with people standing in line at the grocery store or in the Starbuck’s line. Networking happens every day of your life – not just at professional events.
- Be open! Don’t talk about yourself or the agency the entire time, be an active listener and ask relevant, open-ended questions. People love to talk about themselves.
- Be resourceful! Use your contacts. Ask a friend for an introduction. Everybody knows somebody that they can introduce you to.
- Be articulate, concise, enthusiastic, honest and always professional! Even when you think no one is watching, someone is always watching! You may be dropping off your child at school, or attending a sports game or concert, you never know who you may meet. (See #3.)
- Be mindful of the right time! Don’t sell too early. Don’t try to “go in for the kill” all the time, sometimes the win is just making a new friend. Timing is everything!
- Be confident and outgoing …even when it’s painful. Practice every day. Try to meet new people all the time. Try to step outside your comfort zone.
- Follow-up is KEY! Send an email or a handwritten note if it’s a good contact. Connect with them on LinkedIn. If you say you’ll follow up – do it!
- SMILE! It’s a small gesture, but it really, truly helps. You can break the ice with a simple smile!
Looking for more networking tips? – Check out Jeff Lambert’s principles of Net-WORK-ing video.
Tiffany M. Jones is a director at Lambert