If your parents are anything like mine, you've probably been told many times that you shouldn't talk to strangers, but what if I told you talking to (the right kind of) strangers could help you achieve your goals? What I'm referring to is networking: the act of creating relationships with a variety of acquaintances in which both parties benefit.
Why should I network?
Even though networking is a term commonly used in business, creating a network is useful to anyone. For example, for the past few months I have been trying to get a job at a dental office but due to my limited past experience it has proven to be a little challenging. By chance, I started a conversation with the person standing in line behind me at Starbucks guess what his aunt is a dentist and he was happy to give me her information. Just like that I was one step closer to a job! Now, this isn't a "traditional" example of networking, but this is the type of networking we are referring to in this article.
How do I network?
I think by now you get my point about the benefits of networking, but how do you go about it? While you can go to networking events in your area, there are many other ways to network as well. Every friend and family member has valuable connections that can help you. Coaches and teachers are great resources, as well. The key is to be a go-getter, don't be afraid to ask for introductions! You would be surprised as to how many people are willing to help, and if they aren't the worst they can say is no.
What are some networking tips?
- Give before you ask→ Networking is not about what others can do for you, but rather what you have to offer them. It's important to sell yourself as someone who your contact can see needing in the future.
- Be Intriguing→ Chances are, the person you are hoping to add to your network is a busy professional with many things on their mind. If you want to make a connection with them you need to get their attention. Whether it's with the use of a personal anecdote or unique characteristic, say something that will make you memorable.
- Follow Up→ It's not enough to get someone's name and number, you have to make sure to follow through. Call the contact and make conversation with them, remind them of your name and who you are, thank them for speaking with you. Furthermore, maintain the relationship and continue to follow up with them regularly.
Be Prepared→ When you're trying to make a good first impression, you don't want to forget to mention your most important experiences and biggest accomplishments. Be prepared to impress your future connections with all of your achievements in one place, make a digital portfolio on KudosWall today.