6 Tips To Improve Your Networking

From Career Kick – Advice for sharpening your job skills

1-Start Simple
Send a LinkedIn message or email, or even pick up the phone to check in with a contact you haven’t spoken with in a while. You’ll hopefully begin to revive the relationship, and perhaps find out about a new campaign they’re working on with which you can help.

2-Get Involved
Look into local Chamber of Commerce meet-ups and volunteer organizations you could lend a hand to. Be yourself, be honest about your passions and see where the conversation goes. The new people you meet could be potential contacts or even future clients.

3-Quit Being Shy
Fight the urge to be a wallflower. At events, approach one person or a group and ask, “May I join you?” or “What brings you here today?” Then make sure to listen attentively and ask relevant follow-up questions to get the ball rolling.

4-Avoid All Business
Try not to limit your questions solely to work-related topics. Instead, ask open-ended questions like, “What do you enjoy doing in your free time?” Then be willing to share your own preferences and opinions.

5-Practice Your Pitch
When a potential contact does ask you about your career, give a 10- to 20-second overview of who you are and what you do. Don’t lose people by injecting industry jargon; it’s OK to be broad at first. Never exaggerate. The objective is to attract enough interest that the initial conversation might lead to a business relationship.

6-Move Beyond LinkedIn
Work to build solid connections with those you meet, but don’t expect everything to click immediately. Follow up with contacts regularly, but don’t stop with LinkedIn messages. Meet for coffee, share family photos on Facebook, or send holiday cards. Do your best to personalize yourself so business comes more naturally.