Director of Recruiting Elisa Garn with PrincePerelson & Associates tells us about the importance of building strong networking relationships. She shares some steps to successful marketing.
Building a professional network takes time, effort and an ongoing commitment to be effective. Some of the benefits of a strong network include:
- Job hunting/career development
- Knowledge and experience from peers
- Leveraging relationships for mutual benefit
- Build credibility and reputation
Steps you should take to ensure rockstar success:
- Do your research. Make sure you are attending the right events. Don`t waste time pursuing relationships that are not meaningful or mutually beneficial.
- Go alone. If you attend a networking function with someone you know, it will be tempting to remain with them which will limit your opportunity to meet new people. If you do attend with someone, agree to split up and check in with each other when you`re ready to leave.
- Bring business cards. If your company doesn`t provide them or you are unemployed, create some simple copies to share. Always include your name, phone number and email address. Company and title can also be included.
- Watch your body language. You want to be perceived as someone who is approachable, friendly, and open to dialogue. Remember to smile, make eye contact, avoid crossing your arms and keep shoulders back. Do not look over their shoulder or scan the room. Check your hygiene (bring mints/gum, apply deodorant, wear fresh/clean clothes, full body scan in the mirror including checking nose and teeth).
- Have a purpose. The most effective networking conversations center around one person having a need and the other person having a solution. You should know how to answer the questions, 'What can I do for you? Who would you be interested in meeting? How can I help you grow your business?' and also be sure to reciprocate these needs for the other person.
- Don`t let nerves keep from you connecting. Meeting new people can be intimidating. Muster the confidence to introduce yourself and stick to the basics: Tell them your name, offer a firm handshake, smile and ask their name. As a follow up, you can start with traditional questions like, 'Where do you work? What do you for the company? How long have you been a member of ____?' or you can dive a bit deeper with questions like, 'What is something you`re passionate about? Why did you choose a career in ____? What`s something you`re working on right now?'
- Keep it concise. If you`ve ever felt trapped in a long, ineffective or even inappropriate conversation, you know it`s polite and professional to expect no more than 3 to 5 minutes with someone. Practice the 'wrap up' a few times so you can make transitions more easily. Recap action items and thank them for their time. You can also simply excuse yourself from the conversation.
- Remember and use their name. In a 5 minute conversation, you should be able to use the person`s name at least 3 times.
- Follow through. If you offer to send them your contact info, offer to have lunch, etc. - DO IT. Integrity goes a long way with networking and can make all the difference in making long-lasting relationships versus surface level conversations.
- Be a connector. The best kept secret to rockstar networking isn`t what they can do for you: It`s helping others connect. If you become the knowledge base of who does what and what their objectives are, your value will skyrocket. The trick is to make meaningful introductions selflessly and with authenticity. When it comes to networking, giving truly is more valuable than receiving.
For more information, call 801-532-1000 or visit www.perelson.com.