When done well, networking can have exponential benefit, because every person you reach has the potential to connect you to their network, and so forth. Let’s do the math! You have 10 connections who have 10 connections each, and each of those have 10 connections each. That’s 10 x 10 x 10 = 1,000! Perhaps you won’t be able to connect with ALL of them, but there are sure to be contacts of contacts who will be able to add tremendous value to your company, project or career - and all you need is an introduction!
“It is the process of developing and using your contacts for information, advice, and moral support as you pursue your career. It’s linking the people you know to the people they know in an ever-expanding communications network. It’s helping each other become more effective in the work world.” - Mary Scott Welch, Networking
1. Self Reflect
Knowing yourself is critical to being able to confidently express who you are and what you can bring to the table. Take time to reflect and answer the following questions:
- What are some adjectives that describe me? What are some of my defining traits?
- What do I offer? What are my key strengths?
- What’s my niche? How can I best describe my industry and position?
- What problems can I help solve? What are the main contributions I can make?
- What should the listener do as a result of hearing this? What might he or she be able to help me with?
2. Know Your Audience
The way you introduce yourself and convey your abilities may be different depending on your audience. Know what information is most important to share with whom.
3. Create an Outline
Outline your material using bullet points. You don’t need to add any details at this stage; simply write a few notes, considering what elements would be most interesting to your audience.
4. Finalize Your Speech
Expand each section by writing sentences within each. Make sure the each statement is connected to the next and forms a cohesive picture of who you are. Once you have everything written down, revise your speech by eliminating jargon and unnecessary words. The final product should be no more than 100 words long.
5. Practice and Delivery
Before delivering your elevator speech, make sure you practice speaking it aloud. Speak slowly and enunciate every word, being careful not to mumble. Smile and show enthusiasm!
An elevator speech is a concise, carefully crafted, and comfortably delivered description of what you do in less than 30 seconds (100 words). It is not a sales pitch. Do not feel pressured to share every detail about your professional self. When delivered well and with enthusiasm, it invites further inquiry, conversation, and interest into your profession.
Forming Your Elevator Speech Will help narrow down ideas to sell yourself in 30 seconds.
Knowing how to network is important. Your network is super important when looking for a job, cause you never know when or who you're going to meet and what kind of connections they will have.
These 12 Quick Networking Tips Will help you get prepared to start your networking circle.
One way to strategically grow your network is through an informational interview. If you have little work experience, are making a career transition, or just need help understanding what a particular job/company/industry is really like, informational interviews serve a functional purpose.
Organizing An Informal Interview Will help you get ideas together and help you be more confident when networking.
Know Your Passion
You feel most comfortable talking about what you know and are passionate about. This will come through in genuine conversation, which is what people want. Combat your fear of not making a meaningful connection, getting rejected, or coming off as weird by knowing who you are and what you care about.
Create a Plan
Do you tend to freeze up when headed into a crowded room because you don’t know where to go or what to do? Before going to a networking event, have a plan and reasonable goals. Perhaps you want to have three meaningful connections. If you’re making phone calls, have a goal for how many you want to make and develop a script. Whatever it is, know your goal in advance so that when you achieve it you gain confidence and set more ambitious goals next time.
Network When Your Energy is High
Introverts need to recharge when they are alone, so figure out the best time for you to put yourself out there to network in person or over the phone.
Use Positive Body Language
You might feel complete terror on the inside, but if you contentiously choose positive body postures, no one will ever know! Maintain eye contact to communicate confidence. Don’t cross your arms over your body, stand up straight, and lean in slightly.
Ask Good Questions
Take the spotlight off of yourself by learning to ask good and engaging questions. This will endear people to you as you are also showing genuine interest.
Try Non-Pressure Networking
Is going to a formal networking too much? Try volunteering or joining a club instead. It’s less pressure, and you still might make some great connections.
Networking and Social Media
Its the 21st century, and everything we do or communicate is through social media. If only there was a website to get connected with new employers...
Well you're in luck! Much like Facebook, Linkedin is a social networking website but it is geared toward companies and industry professionals looking to make new business contacts or keep in touch with previous co-workers, affiliates, and clients. With Linkedin, is a chance to define yourself as a professional.
Linkedin Tips Will show you how to create a profile, give you tips and tricks on what your profile should look like, ethics in practice on social media, and much more.