COM0015 Blog 3 Professional Networking

Desperately Seeking Support for Network Building

The idea of ‘networking’ makes extroverts gleam and introverts scream.  Schmoozing and ‘working the room’ may be natural behaviours for some, but for others it can often be an overwhelming and underproductive experience.  However, if done effectively, networking can expand your sphere of influence and build your personal brand.  For those desperately seeking support, here’s some tips that I have learned over the years:

Know Yourself

Professional networking is more about giving than receiving, so determine your strengths and be prepared to share this knowledge and experience with others.  Think about your brand and what makes you a superstar. If you talk about something that you are passionate about, you will come across sincerely and naturally. 

Do Your Research

Whether it’s a virtual or in-person networking event, research the participants ahead of time.  Make a list of who you may like to connect with and think about how your strengths, knowledge and experiences may be of assistance to them.

The Meet and Greet

Some can dive right in and start a conversation with strangers, while others may need a bit of coaching.  Scan nametags for people on your research list or look for businesses or organizations that you feel comfortable conversing about.  If a large event sounds too daunting, invite a networking buddy, but be sure to branch off and meet new people.   Think quality connections, not quantity.

Network Everywhere

Don’t just save your networking skills for formal business events, look for opportunities at team meetings and social functions.  Make a pact with yourself to share and offer your skills and experiences with a co-worker and/or meet someone new.  

Keep in Touch

Professional networking is more than just meeting people, it’s about making meaningful connections. You might keep in touch over coffee or at other business functions, but with COVID-19 restrictions, we’ll all need to rely on phone calls, email, and social media for the next 6 – 12 months.  If you are uncomfortable chatting on the phone or writing emails, you can easily re-connect by commenting on one of their posts or send them a link to an article that you think would interest them.  Again, quality connections, not quantity.

By giving your time, offering your insight, and sharing knowledge, your network will naturally reciprocate by preaching your value to others thus increasing your brand reputation.  Keep the faith.

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2 thoughts on “COM0015 Blog 3 Professional Networking

  1. Great post Gail.

    As someone who is more on the introvert side hearing the word “networking” instantly sends me into a panic mode. Most of the time just leading up to the event and then I do okay during it.

    I like the recommendations you wrote about as I have not implemented those myself. The knowing myself portion is something I will work on going forward. A dreaded question to me always is “Tell me about yourself”. My mind goes blank.

    Doing research before hand is a great idea, I network in a city where I did not grow up therefore I feel like that is a detriment to me at times.

  2. Thanks for your feedback, Courtney. I think you had mentioned that you were taking Digital Communications this semester – – I remember that one assignment was to write ‘My Personal Story’. Condense your story so it’s concise, to the point and easy to memorize. Try using cue cards with key points and practice it outloud (in front of a mirror or record yourself). The more times you say it, the more natural it will sound (not forced). Best of luck!

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