Time and time again, we meet clients who have a difficult time with networking – possibly people just like you, searching for a job that best fits their skill sets, lifestyle, and career trajectory. In fact, our unofficial poll indicated most people would rather go to the dentist than attend a networking event!
Before we get to the networking tips, let’s talk about what networking is. In essence, “effective business networking is the linking together of individuals who, through trust and relationship building, become walking, talking advertisements for one another.”1
The good thing is, most of us already have a wide network around us…it’s just a matter of letting those in your network know what you need when it comes to expanding your business or finding that next step in your career path. The most important thing to remember: be yourself. Yes, you want to show your best side, but people will gravitate toward you if you are comfortable in your own skin, and feel confident about what you have to offer the world. Once you get comfortable with that, here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Begin with your end goal: Do you want to move to a different organization? Start an entirely new career path? Make sure you can explain in 30 seconds or less what you’re seeking.
2. Practice with friends and family: This is key, whether you need to practice your networking skills or not. After all, this is your original network.
3. Have a few conversation starters in mind: Practice on your dog if you have to, but there’s nothing worse than meeting someone and having absolutely nothing to talk about, right? Ask a new acquaintance what they are reading, where they like to eat in KC, their favorite vacation…anything to establish a common ground. Be sure to follow up with a quick email or phone call after you’ve met the person to maintain your connection. You never know when one of you may need to call on the other for help.
4. Join a club: This is a great way to meet others in a comfortable environment. After all, everyone in the club has at least that one thing in common, right?
5. Try out a networking event with a friend: There are tons of activities going on in Kansas City, and let’s face it, we Midwesterners are a pretty friendly bunch. To get you started, visit The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce website, or its GenKC division to learn about upcoming networking events.
For those of you who still aren’t comfortable walking into that networking event, or reaching out to friends for help, just remember that our expertise in networking is one of the reasons SquadBuilders continues to expand so rapidly. We can be your networking link to help find the best fit for you. Let us be the first step to creating your network: #JoinTheSquad and contact us today.
1 Business Know-How, “10 Tips for Successful Business Networking,” by Stephanie Speisman