When I was in my last year of college, one of my classes was to put on a networking event, invite professionals, and then network. I was so excited to put this event on (it’s probably why I got into event planning as a career). Then the night finally arrived, I was dressed up and ready to go, once we arrived, the nerves hit me – walking around a room, not really knowing anyone, making conversations with strangers in a professional way – my stomach was in knots. I think most of my classmates felt the same, for almost all of us it was the first time we had really networked. Needless to say, I survived, and it ended up being a pretty great night, and I learned such a great skill.
Now with the advancements of social media, networking can be done from the comfort of your home, while still making valuable connections. It is a great way to meet people in your industry from around the world.
My parent strategy for developing my professional network online is to become more active and involved in groups relative to my industry. As an event planner, I have joined several LinkedIn and Facebook groups dedicated to the event industry. For many months I have lingered, read posts, and followed along on some discussion. I will now start becoming more active on a consistent basis. I will be involved in the discussions, contribute my own ideas, and listen and reply the other professionals around me. I have also started revamping my LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter pages to give them a professional facelift, and update all my relative information. Last summer I began the event planning blog, From Setup to Cleanup, part of my plan is to revamp the blog site and begin blogging on a bi-weekly basis. This will provide good content for my social media platforms and also help show my skills to those in the same industry.
Once Covid-19 allows us to gather in groups and attend events again, my parent strategy for developing my professional in-person networks is to start attending more events in the Event Planning field. I have always had a fear of in-person networking, but over the past few years I have become a lot more confident in myself and my skills, so I believe I am ready to start showcasing them in the in-person world. I have even started teaching Lunch & Learn workshops – these are all gifts I can showcase and offer to my wider networks.
Plan to Develop my Networks
While it is easy to say I am going to start networking online and in person, it will never happen without a solid plan. So here is my 6-month timeline:
- Continue listening in the networking groups on social media to find some interesting topics of discussion.
- Gather research as necessary.
- Update my social media pages with a professional facelift.
- Make 1 post on 3 different social media networking pages
- Reply to at least 5 other discussions.
- Revamp my blog and make my first (new) post.
- Share my first (new) blog post on all my social media platforms.
- Research some webinars I can attend online to network and/or increase my knowledge
- Attend at least one virtual event.
- Make at least 2 posts on 3 different social media networking pages.
- Reply and discuss to at least 5 other discussions on different networking pages.
- Continue to research and listen to other for new ideas.
- Attend at least 2 webinars/virtual networking events this month.
- Begin to share my blog to a wider community.
- Actively engage in several discussions in my networks.
- Begin to research in-person networking events I can attend in the next 6-12 months as Covid-19 allows.
- If possible, make plans/purchase tickets to at least one networking event.
- Continue to post to my blog.
- Continue to engage on social media networks.
- Share my blog within my new networks.
- Offer a Lunch & Learn workshop to my new networks in Fall 2021 – begin promoting now.
- Research new ways to interact or launch new social sites.
What are your networking strategies? Tell me about them in the comments below!
Danson, H. (2020, July). [Blog] From Setup to Cleanup. Retrieved from https://dans00080.wixsite.com/fromsetuptocleanup
Fauxels. (2019, November 5). Photo Of People Doing Handshakes. Retrieved from https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-people-doing-handshakes-3183197/
Krukov, Y. (2020, May 22). Woman in White Shirt Sitting on Chair in Front of Macbook. Retrieved from https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-in-white-shirt-sitting-on-chair-in-front-of-macbook-4458421/