I have written posts before about networking and this post is a continuation from them. If you missed any of them, you can view them here. With those tips in mind, consider KISS when it comes to networking. I know we have all heard “keep it simple silly” and it applies here more than ever. If you make networking complicated, it won’t work for you. Networking should be easy because it is you sharing with someone who you are and what you do in exchange for his or her information.
Now, that I have graduated from college and am trying to make a name for myself I realize I am my own brand. Who is going to tell the world what I can do? Me. Who is going to offer you assistance with your next research project? Me. Who is going to compliment the marketing your company does and suggest a way to make it better? Me. (Get the idea?) The more I try to get my name out there through a person-to-person or one-on-one basis, the more contacts I get in my phone. The more contacts I get in my phone, the more projects and experience I gain from helping people with what I do best. These are all steps to gain a job in the career field I am wanting to do for a living to sustain myself.
When you are in college, everyone preaches to network. I challenge you to ask any college student who is going to school and work full time and trying to network during their college years and compare it to the time after he or she graduates. There’s no comparison! I am finding more time to network after college than I ever did while I was in college. Instead of worrying about an upcoming exam or assignment, I can go through my daily routine and be able to spot networking opportunities better.
Recently, I purchased a newer car at a dealership and ended up negotiating car prices with the head marketing associate. Before the bottom line was given, he gave me his business card and we discussed his marketing efforts he was doing and working on at the dealership. (Remember, people like to talk about themselves so wait your turn.) When it was appropriate, I shared my experience with consumer engagement for a local gym and offered to bring his ideas to the next level. We talked about our favorite advertising agencies and found some more things we had in common. When the bottom line was given, I had gained a newer 2006 Honda Pilot and a new contact in marketing.
During my daily routine at Publix, I saw a customer wearing a pin that was subtle that had caught my eye. “I’ve lost ____ lbs. Ask me how you can to with HERBALIFE.” The first time I saw it, I was intrigued but didn’t say anything. The next time I saw her with the same pin on, I had to say something. “Ma’am, I like your pin. I’m health conscience and into marketing and think that’s a great way to get someone’s attention without shoving it in their face,” I said. She had ideas of how to expand her business with testimonial blogs and more interaction with customers. We exchanged information and found common ground with her weight loss and franchise in a health company. I shared my experience with consumer engagement and latest hobby of personal blogging.
In a nutshell,
- Be friendly and allow the person you want to network with talk more than you. This way you gain perspective if this is someone you want to help you in the future, someone just to know, or someone you want to work with.
- Prepare a brief statement of what you do and what you can offer them as a person or for their business.
- Always carry a business card with you!
- Within 24 hours, write them an e-mail if you have it thanking them for the meeting earlier. Briefly recap what you said during the engagement and invite your services once again.
- If there is no e-mail, leave a brief voice mail to recap what transpired earlier.
- If you are swamped with other “jobs” state you are interested in helping the contact, but honestly tell them a time frame you will be able to if necessary. Remember to keep communication until then.
- Always thank the contact. Always!
- If you are a marketer, continue to look for more ways to market yourself and ways a company who could use your help.
- Be you because it’s what makes you different from everyone else in this world. It will make you more memorable if you stay true to yourself.