Confessions of a Conversationalist: Fundamentals of Networking

It’s funny. I moved around a lot as a child, I was social chair of my sorority, membership director of a civic group as a young adult – let’s just call a spade a spade – I’m an extrovert! Those of you who have met me know this about me… and yes, I’ll be the first to admit that some of this is inherent – but , I also believe that some can be learned as well!

This blog post will introduce the fundamentals of networking. From learning how to make an impression when you meet people to how to stay connected after you meet. Come back to this section of my blog often for continued ideas, tips, and resources. This post on LinkedIn in fact, “7 Ways to Leave a Lasting Impression,”  was my inspiration for today’s blog post.

  1. BACK AWAY FROM YOUR DESK! There are so many events and groups that meet to talk about issues that are relevant to your work or your client. FIND THOSE! Leave your desk, your office, your comfort zone. Attending events will keep you in tune to the trends and people in your industry. Being plugged in makes you relevant with your clients and colleagues.
  2. THE ART OF INTRODUCTIONS. Who watched Bridget Jones’ Diary? Do you recall her inner dialogue about how to introduce someone at a party? It went something like this… introduce people with thoughtful details—something that either exposes how you know them, or helps the two people you are introducing find some commonality.(e.g., Mark Darcy: “Natasha, this is Bridget Jones. Bridget, this is Natasha. Bridget works in a publishing house and she used to play around naked in my paddling pool.” Source IMDB) This has stuck with me for whatever reason – and it really does have great impact!
  3. BE “SOCIAL” – GET CONNECTED. What do you do with those business cards you collect when you are out and about? Do you know what I do? I send them an invitation to connect on LinkedIn—I follow them on Twitter. This gives me a great resource of professionals to draw upon when I want to learn how other people are handling challenges in their company. Potential teaming partners for business opportunities. I get invited to speak on panels. I even source job candidates through the people I meet at events!
  4. STAY CONNECTED –BUILD RAPPORT. Keep in touch with these folks you meet. Send them articles you think they may be interested in. Ask them if they will be attending an upcoming event that you are planning to attend. Set up a phone call to discuss a new software, vendor, or trend. Meet them for coffee. I even co-published an article with someone I met at an event!

Being well networked has a lot of benefits for you as an individual, as well as for the company. It also increases your net worth to the firm. You can “add value” to your clients and colleagues by being “plugged in”. People will see you as a go-to resource and a broker of capabilities.

Get out there and start networking! Start, by connecting with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

For my Tips & Tricks of the Trade presentation visit my page on Slideshare.

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