How to Network Like a Pro!
Hey Boss Babe!
Welcome back and Happy Tuesday!
Today we are chatting about how to network like a pro. Over the years we have picked up some awesome tips and tricks from attending multiple events and we learned from the pro’s themselves. We are here to help our ‘introvert’ babes break out of their comfort zones and our ‘extrovert’ babes take a breath.
After you are done reading this, make sure to come back to learn how to slay your next interview [after you land a job from your networking event].
*Brace yourselves because these posts tend to be a little longer than the norm.
Before the Event:
Set up your social accounts for success: Before you even get to the event, make sure all of your social media accounts are cohesive and branded to match your brand or company. At an event that you are looking to network, the number one social account to focus on would be LinkedIn. Regardless if you are a blogger, influencer or the director of awesome at your company, it should be stacked with your current and past jobs, your skills, and any accomplishments or recommendations. You could and should be connected with those new connections on LinkedIn as soon as the next day. Even if nothing immediately comes out of the meeting, after the event you never know what your relationship could become down the line. Also, at all times, you should remove anything from your social media accounts that you wouldn’t want your new boss or current boss to see. Make sure it is as professional and even relatable to your upcoming event if possible.
Research: Do your research! If the event has a list of speakers or vendors, scout them out. Make a list of the top five to seven speakers/vendors/companies you want to meet with then get to casually
stalking reviewing their websites and social accounts. Once you make your list, think of company specific questions you might want to ask. Become familiar with any recent events they may have hosted or any significant company news/milestones.
Elevator Pitch: Ah the dreaded Elevator Pitch… perfect it! Practice before the event doing a quick pitch about yourself. Pull together a quick intro about who you are, what you do, how your clients or the companies client benefit from your skills. Always have an elevator pitch ready to go because you will never know when you need to self-promote.
Get the card: Rule number one, if you are going to an event have business cards ready to go – and – make sure you get your new connections personal business card. If you meet with several employees at a company, get all of their cards as well. You never know which connection will work out best.
Take notes: AFTER you are done having a conversation, step to the side and quickly and jot down two or three little notes on the back of the business card they just handed you. Try to write down one important personal thing from your conversation For example: if they mentioned they had plans to do something or are excited about trying something this new restaurant, jot it down. You can also jot down a note about their looks [example: short blonde hair, tall, blue shirt, etc]. When you reach out to them the next day it will make it a lot easier to send a quick, personal ‘Nice to meet you’ or ‘thank you for taking the time note’. For example: Say you connected with a nice lady named Sara at ABC company who had mentioned she is looking forward to going to see the play ‘Wicked’ this weekend. You could say something like ‘Hi Sara, It was a pleasure connecting with you yesterday at XYZ event. I hope you have fun seeing Wicked this weekend and I look forward to connecting with you soon’. If you talked about something company specific or a possible new job add that in where you can. Short, sweet and personal works 99.9% of the time. You get to connect and you stand out on their radar. This tip is also especially helpful when you go to larger events. When I go to large events for my industry, I can meet up with 100 new people over two or three days and that is a lot to remember so a quick reminder note or some fun facts about a conversation totally help.
Remember your value: For my introverts, if you get nervous, remember your value. You are worthy of that CEO’s attention. If you are shy, take a breath or sip of water, compose yourself and go for it. Rip off the band-aid but before you do, practice what you want to say quickly and have a question ready to go. If you are an extrovert, have a couple professional questions handy when you approach that CEO, then ask and then listen.
After the Event:
Follow up: If possible, I love a good hand-written personalized note but if you are looking to connect quickly, then craft a quick email or note [like the one I mentioned above]. If they have a LinkedIn account, send them a personalized note and connect. In the note, make sure to touch on one thing from your conversation at the event and thank them for taking the time to speak with you. Always end your note with an opening to connect again. “Hope to work together soon”, “Let me know if you need any assistance with __”, “Looking forward to seeing you in September”, etc.
Connect more: This is a gray area but depending on your industry, and how well you connected, you may want to follow them on certain social accounts. In my current industry everyone is on Twitter so for me to connect on LinkedIn and Twitter is acceptable. If you met with the CEO of a company and don’t already organically follow them then wait til after you get the job.
What to bring: Always bring several resumes. You never know when you will need them. For example, maybe you just applied to a job and at the last minute, they were added as a speaker to an upcoming event you are attending. If you get a moment to connect with them, you will want to be able to give them a fresh copy of your beautiful crafted resume. You will also want to have business cards and mints available. If you are a blogger, bring a printed media kit. Make sure everything you bring is in an easy to access place but especially your business cards. I recently purchased an awesome double sided case, since I have two different businesses it allows me to hold both cards in one place. I keep them in the middle pocket of my bag so I always know where they are.
What questions to ask: There are so many questions. If you are shy, asking intriguing questions is a great way to start the conversation and then listen. Some of my favorites to get the conversation flowing are: How did you find out about this event? How did you get into this industry? Do you have any tips for someone looking to get into this industry?… or simply give a compliment. Whether you are a huge fan of the person or if you just met them, a compliment always goes a long way. The compliment could be something about how much you loved xyz article they just published [if you are a fan] or about how pretty their outfit is.
Bring a Friend: If you can, and if you want to, bring a friend. Friends always help me stay less stressed and you know each other’s personalities so you are able to balance a conversation naturally.
I hope you enjoyed this post and have now become a network pro!
Want more? Learn how to stand out at your next interview.
Here is your Pin-able: