Social networks such as LinkedIn or twitter are good ways to follow the industries that interest you and the people who work there. There are also platforms for startups and businesses that can be good entry points into networking groups.Big cities have networking events that can be useful for meeting new professionals. For example, online meetup allows you to integrate different groups according to your interests. You can also take a look at the conferences that offers and attend trade shows. Thanks to pre-existing network, you can lean on people you know to ask them to connect you with other people and so on. In group networking this is important.
How to master the art of networking?
Networking is not rocket science, but it is an art! Adopt the right attitude in few steps:
Favor the real
While social media is a great way to get in touch, it’s best to meet or have phone contact with the person you’re interested in. On the one hand because nothing replaces the real exchanges and on the other hand because knowing you, your interlocutor will be more inclined to help you.Start the meetings! On a happy hour, don’t stick with people you know. It is certainly more reassuring, but ineffective.
Master your elevator speech
Take care of your appearance as well as your attitude. Prepare your elevator speech well in order to quickly capture the attention of your interlocutor. The elevator speech is a short speech of a few sentences that allows you to introduce yourself to a stranger in the amount of time it takes to go up from the ground floor to the upper floor of a building. He answers the question “Hello, what do you do for a living? ”
Clarify your expectations
Think about what you hope for from this meeting. Target the people you want to meet and find out beforehand about their background, their company and their industry. This will help you avoid the trivialities and ask relevant questions. Ask them about things that will help you determine if this area is right for you.
Seduce your interlocutor
It is often counterproductive to ask the other person directly for work. Your direct approach may annoy or make them uncomfortable. Use a gentler networking approach: ask them for advice, seek their expert opinion, and ask them about job opportunities in the targeted industry. Thus, not only you solicit your interlocutor, but also all his network!
If chatting with people who might hire you intimidates you, practicing with people who are a little more distant from their professional background will make you feel more comfortable asking them for advice.