Networking. We know that it’s important. But have be been led to approaching it the wrong way? Maybe it’s not about walking around a room, collecting as many business cards as possible. Here are a few things to think about when strategizing your networking plan:
The World is Flat
Just because someone that you meet isn’t in a position that can help your immediate needs doesn’t mean that they should be disregarded. Not only could you run into a need in the future in which a relationship with them would be beneficial, but they are likely a link in connecting with someone who can help you now. As LinkedIn demonstrates, we are much more closely connected to each other than we probably think.
Stop Working the Room
Don’t make your goal collecting as many business cards as you can. LinkedIn connections with someone that you never really connected with aren’t very useful. Focus on quality encounters with fewer people. Also try to think of what you can do for each of the people you meet. Who can you connect them to? What resources do you know of that would be valuable to them? The power of reciprocity is an extremely strong force.
Choose events that you know will be likely to make relevant connections. Don’t burn yourself out on taxing networking events that don’t provide ugh value to you.
To establish a meaningful and memorable connection, there has to be follow up. And actually meeting would be ideal. But at the very least, a letter or email should be sent that is reminiscent of the introduction and expresses excitement for the connection.