I have a confession. As loud as I am (if you know me, you know I love to talk) I'm a bit shy when it comes to approaching new people. Quite frankly my networking skills can use a quick refresher. So I just wanted to share some of the extremely insightful material I learned today about the in and out's of networking in one of the 4 sessions held at the event.
Useful networking tips:
-Be vulnerable and genuine when you first meet someone
-Stay knowledgeable on current events and know what's going on in the world. Extremely useful in opening up conversations
-Research the individuals you want to meet beforehand. Find out what their interests are, who they be with, things that make them smile so you can find out what numbers to dial (I threw that Biggie line in there but you understand where I'm going with this)
-Start the relationship off on a positive note so that it's easy when you need to follow up with the person you want to connect with
-Discover your strengths and pay attention to any constructive criticism thrown your way
-Don't be afraid to pick the phone and cold call. Email is great but nothing beats a call and verbally speaking with someone you want to work with
So what happens if you are a shy birdie like me? Well the panelist suggest having friends that are Type A personalities that can perhaps open conversational doors for you. However the experts all agreed that at some point you have to get over your fears and perhaps mimic certain characteristics of your outspoken friends and apply them in your "networking life"
Now on to what NOT to do when trying to network:
So here's where I respectfully disagree with the panelists. The issue of Facebook came up and the question was posed about the it was appropriateness of "friending" someone you are interested in networking with on FB. The answer was a surprising no. The experts argued that you have to keep the lines crystal clear between personal and business therefore friending unknown potential business prospects is a no-no. I however disagree. I find that tools such as FB, twitter are extremely helpful in helping connect people and they are public platforms that can be utilized in forming new relationships. It's a new way to meet people that perhaps you would have no other way to engage with. Additionally if you follow the person or friend them they may post or tweet about topics that are relevant to their field that maybe of interest to you. What do you guys think?
So that's my list, I hope it was helpful! Let me know if you have any other tips that you want to share.