You’ve just attend a networking event where you met some key individuals there - people who could be strong connections for you to land that dream job. How do you follow up with these people and give them a subtle glimpse at what you’re made of and what you could do for the industry?
“ Confidence is about losing the fear of telling the world who you are.” – Kelly Galanis
How you prepare for a networking event is just as important as what happens when you walk through the door. If you have access to a guest list, identify those key individuals you want to connect with. Then, sit down at the computer and research their online presence.
Do they have a LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook page? How about a blog or website? Google their name and company. Identify some commonalities you share and make some notes for yourself. This will help you get conversations started when you make that face-to-face encounter.
Once the introduction has been made and the small talk is out of the way, be sure to ask open-ended questions you know will produce solid answers. Then, close your mouth and open your ears. Pay attention to the words they are saying and make note of something you might be able to respond with.
Now that you’ve listened to a great response from your contact, it’s time to start a real conversation. Enter into a discussion on the topic that you just asked about, pulling from the answer that they’ve just shared with you. This is also an excellent opportunity to slip in some comments about what work you do and make mention of a topic relating to your Personal Brand.
Sharing is an extended form of engaging. It brings the discussion to the next level, allowing both individuals to interact comfortably. Sharing is that turning point that turns strangers into acquaintances and eventually friends.
Can anyone share an experience that followed the RULES of networking? How did it turn out?
Don’t be fooled by the many tools Social Networking provides today. While we are able to reach and connect to many individuals faster, it still is not as easy as it seems. The best networking connections are made by a PERSONAL connection, so be sure to keep it real!
Share an example of a time you might have tried connecting but did not succeed. What do you feel went wrong?
Share an example of a time you were successful in connecting. What went well? Why do you feel it was a success?
What is the secret to a great networking experience? You need to CONNECT:
What are some examples of connections you have made that have been well-maintained over time? How have you kept in contact? What does it take for you or that individual to reach out to one another? What is your method of communication?
Personality is Key, Personal Branding is Ideal
Having a personal brand is all the buzz today. What does it mean? Why is it so important? The simple answer is that a personal brand defines YOU. It tells the world who you are, what you stand for and what you hope to become. It requires you to reflect on your qualities and positive traits, then feeling comfortable enough to share them with the world.
Incorporating your Personal Brand into networking doesn’t take much more effort than what we’ve just reviewed. When networking your Brand, you must make sure that you have fully developed your Brand, and that you know the key selling points.
Can you answer the following about your Personal Brand?
How do you describe your Personal Brand in 3 words?
Do you have a tagline or selling point of your Personal Brand?
What is the mission or purpose of your Personal Brand?
If you find yourself stuck on some of these questions, you need to take a closer look at your Personal Brand. It is important to focus and hone in on the key strengths you possess - what is it you want people to remember or know you for?
Consider following the rules of Twitter - limit your Personal Brand to 140 characters. Can you say it all in that short line? If not, keep working at it until you can.