Business Networking Academy (with the Contributions of Ozge Onsen Belen)
It is never too late to determine New Year Networking goals!
How do you want your network to be like in 2016?
Who do you want to meet this year? How can you do that? Who will stand by you on the path that leads to where you want to be? And above all, where will be you standing a year from today with the leveraging effect of “Networking”?
It is only up to us to build a network that we want to have. It is also up to us to shape our careers. Here are the top priorities for Networking:
“I will attend that event!"
Remember last years' events you were unable to or did not attend. You missed them and were shattered to find out that they even existed. Or you failed to find a ticket or invitation for them. Give a thought on such events. Well, such events or the likes will for sure be organized this year as well. Make sure you make a list of all the events you want to attend in 2016, and note down their dates and participants.
“I will meet new people and reinforce ties with existing contacts!"
There are connoisseurs in every industry. Who would you like to meet in your industry? From whom would you like to hear suggestions? Do you plan to switch industries? Who can you consult in your new industry? Who can your contacts be?
Giving a call to someone only in need of help would be tricky. Especially if you have failed to keep in touch over time... Cross out the probability of asking such persons to do a favor for you. Just plan something lighter, like having a coffee for a warm chat. This is how calling, conversing, meeting up and chatting would feel more genuine. Once you adopt such a mindset, your contacts will ask what you have been up to and be willing to help you, without you having to request help.
“I will keep up with technology!”
To keep abreast of the age of technological advances, one should not forget how technology could be an enabler in Networking plans. What about using social networks in a more active and smarter way this year? Just Google your name and surname or search them on Yandex. Here is your first digital impression! Before meeting you, majority of people search your name on these browsers to see what you have been doing and the news about you.
Set yourself some goals to walk towards right away, like keeping social profiles up-to-date, starting to use especially LinkedIn more efficiently, or downloading mobile apps that save business cards in picture formats.
You have decided to be more active on social networks to expand your network. Watch out, though! Don't share dozens of posts on your page only for the sake of being "more active". There is a thin line between “leaving a good impression” and the “boring effect of posting too much".
Social networks serve as miraculous tools that help you follow up on the companies in your watch list, keep up with the updates and support your friends. But note that in Networking, social networks should only be your tools. Avoid mistaking them with your goals. Call a friend whom you've seen on Facebook to be sick, or, for example, personally congratulate a contact of yours who has announced their newly-made investment on LinkedIn. Liking is not enough to build trust!
“I'll use my business card more effectively! (Or, "I will have a personal card printed!")
If you're self-employed or looking for a job, and if you don't have a business card that properly introduces you, you should definitely have one printed.
Don't forget the role business cards play in Networking. You don't own a business card to show off! You use it in the furtherance of a contact, if your nice conversations seem to be getting somewhere! You can also have a look at “Business Cards“ , which is a chapter of the Networking Series if you'd like to find more about having the right business card and using it properly.
“I will announce opportunities to my circle of friends!”
Create a folder on the home screen of your PC to keep the CVs of your friends looking for a job. Go through the CVs occasionally. You will be surprised to see how many people you can assist. This way, you can also be beneficial for your contacts looking for a team member.
Make it a habit to ask yourself which articles could be of help to which of your contacts while reading newspapers and magazines. Take a screenshot of an insightful article and share it with relevant people. This will help you have more meaningful contacts.
And always build on the vision of people you can introduce to each other. Watch out! Introducing wrong people may turn out to be disastrous. We will further explore the question of introducing people.