Stop doing these 5 things to be a better networker
We all know that having a strong network is great for your career. The thing we don’t all know is exactly how to build up that network. It’s particularly hard for graduates and for anyone new to the country or state. This is why I am never surprised to hear that so many people aren’t networking at all or if they are they are doing the below things that are sabotaging their networking efforts.
1 – You only network online
Networking online is great. Using LinkedIn to network is perfect but it can only get you so far. You need to actually go to events and meet people face to face. You need to have those awkward conversations and you need to do it regularly.
2 – You are focused on what you need not on what you can do for others
When you are going to a networking event you are often there for a reason. You are probably there because you want someone to help you out with something and that something is probably a job. If you go to an event and start asking people to help you they are going to be all like “why should I? What’s in it for me? Networking needs to be a 2 way street. You need to figure out what value you will add to the people you are networking with. Once you start to build a relationship you can talk to them about helping you.
3 – You don’t follow up
If you meet someone whilst at an event then you need to follow up with them. It could be a simple email or LinkedIn request but you need to do it and you need to do it as soon as you can. You will be surprised at how something as simple as following up helps you build a meaningful relationship.
4 – You don’t know how to start the conversation
This one is tough. A lot of people want to network but they don’t know how to just open up a conversation with a stranger. I have a 7 year old son and when we were on holidays recently he just went up to a kid he had never seen before and said “Hi, I’m Max, do you want to play with me?” the other kid said “Yep” and off they went. Simple! It’s interesting to hear that so many adults have no idea how to start a conversation with another. To help get over this tiny problem I suggest you prepare some questions you might like to ask and test them out. My favourite opener is “Hi, have you been to one of these events before?” It’s a simple opener and the person you ask has a clear answer. It’s not intrusive and it’s not awkward.
5 – You go to networking events with a friend
Ever been to a networking event with a friend and then spent the entire time just talking with that same person? This is because you don’t need to get out of your comfort zone. You can just sand there with your trusty buddy and not even have to talk to another person. So what’s the point of going to the event to network if you don’t even try? I suggest going to events on your own. This way you will have to meet new people.
Now that you know hoe to be a better networker its your time to get out there and meet a bunch of new people. You can try https://www.meetup.com to find some networking events near you.