Whether you are a college student just starting out, looking to enhance your own career, or are in the process of re-inventing yourself, building relationships is a key to success. Many people tell you to start networking but few explain how to do it. Pat Hedley shares eight tips from her book, Meet 100 People.
8 Networking Tips
- Start close to home
Friends, family and neighbors can all be helpful in expanding your network. Alumni groups are terrific too. Seek out contacts from among your high school, college and graduate school contacts. This is an easy way to start.
- Meet people face-to-face
Texts, emails and phone calls are good but they are not enough. You must meet people in person to establish a connection and start to build a valuable network. Never eat alone. You need to be the one to reach out to make it happen.
- Make it a habit
You need to meet a lot of people to improve your odds of success. You can meet 100 people in six to nine months. Create a schedule and go out and do it!
- Keep expanding your network
Who else do you recommend I talk to? This is an essential question to ask whenever you have met someone. Absolutely ask for referrals and meet more people.
- If you don’t ask, you don’t get
Figure out what you want and need and then ask for it. If you are meeting someone and there is a job available, indicate your interest. Demonstrate your energy and enthusiasm. You need to ask in order to receive.
- Show gratitude
If someone gave you $200, you would thank them. Time is money too. Make sure you always thank someone for meeting with you. This means a follow-up email and/or a handwritten note within 24 hours. People will want to continue to help you succeed if they know you are appreciative and responsible.
- Be helpful
Learn what you can do for the person you just met with it and make sure you do it. Whether it is sending them an article you think might be of interest, introducing them to someone they might want to know or making them aware of an event they might enjoy, try to be helpful. These actions help establish a foundation for a more meaningful relationship.
- Have an open mind
Whether your goal is to get a job, find a mentor, or seek opportunities, meeting people will get you there. But it is really up to you – you need to go out and meet people to accomplish your goals. Be helpful to others and they will be helpful to you too.