Doostang News February 28: Tips for Improving Your Networking – Part 2

Investment Banking Associate, New York, NY
Sr. Marketing Consultant, Atlanta, GA
Pre-MBA Associate, Boston, MA
Change Management PM, Chicago, IL
Associate, SF Bay Area, CA

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Welcome back to our second installment of tips for improving your networking skills.  Last time we discussed the importance of taking the time to really establish a meaningful connection with someone and of exchanging stories with the person you’re speaking to.  Both of these things help make you more memorable and create a basis for further conversation.  Read on for more tips on how to effectively chat people up at those networking events that we all love, oh, so much!

Create a Transition for Your Next Conversation

Once you’ve won over a contact at a networking event, the next battle becomes following up with them in a meaningful and relevant way.  Perhaps you feel comfortable approaching new people for the first time, but freeze up when it comes to following up with someone.  A good way to make this easier is to establish some basis for follow-up.  It can be as simple as telling them that you will get back to them with some piece of information, or paying close attention to a question they had and following up once you have an answer for them.  Or it may be as bold as scheduling a lunch meeting and actually following through with it.  Whatever it is that you decide to do, try your best to keep the conversation open when you say goodbye.

Become a Resource

It’s easy to list the ways in which others might be able to help us, and to attend networking events for the sole purpose of meeting such people.  But also try to consider how you could help others and make yourself available.  People seem most eager to follow up with someone when that other person is the gatekeeper to their next dream job or perfect connection.  Yet if you leave an event and find that there is some way in which you can aid someone you just met, try to be just as enthusiastic about getting in contact with that person.  If you do this, you will build a much richer network of contacts around yourself – ones that will be more likely to go out on a limb for you.

Embrace Social Media

As a follow-up to the in-person meeting, add your new contacts to your online social network.  The advantage of professional networking sites is that they grant your contacts access to all your information, including your resume if you choose to display it.  No matter how riveting of a conversation you had with another person, they’re not always going to remember all the details, so it’s helpful to provide that information afterward as well, and in a format that they can revisit.

Networking isn’t easy, but with these tips we hope it will be easier.  Just remember that in addition to everything, it’s important to be professional, friendly, and attentive – and hopefully this will render you unforgettable!

Until next time,

The Doostang Team

Doostang News February 21: Tips for Improving Your Networking – Part 1

Equity Trader, San Francisco, CA
Business Development Intern, Hicksville, NY
Acquisitions Associate, Chicago, IL
Intern, Boston, MA
Investment Associate, Denver, CO

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There really is an art to networking, and while you certainly get better at it over time, there are also a few tricks you can employ to improve your results.   While you probably won’t get very far by standing in the corner at a networking event, you’ll also suffer if you go over-the-top and try to do too much.  Here are some pointers to keep in mind when trying to establish meaningful connections:

Slow Down

If your main goal is to show up to an event and collect as many business cards as possible, you’re not going to get very far in the long run.  The reason for this is that in order to achieve your goal, you will have to move about the room very quickly, without giving yourself a chance to make any first impressions on anyone.  You will easily be forgotten, and although you will have their contact information, you won’t have a real basis to follow up with all those people whose business cards you collected.  Additionally, without much one-on-one time with each person, you will likely forget the individuals you are there to meet as well, and therefore won’t get much out of the event.

Focus on Quality

Really try to relate to the person you are talking to, and make sure that you speak and listen.  Don’t become distracted by other people in the room or think about the next person you are going to approach.  Focus your attention on the person standing in front of you and try to make a real connection with them.  That way, when you follow up, they will remember who you are and will be more open to continuing the conversation you started at the event.

Tell a Story

A good way to stick in people’s mind is to tell them your story.  Think of things you can tell them that are relevant, but interesting as well.  What makes you unique as a business professional and as a human being?  How did you get to where you are, and what makes you tick?  And make sure to listen to their stories as well.  People love the chance to share something about themselves, and having this exchange will help establish rapport between the two of you.  It will also give you something to reference and talk about later on when you get in contact again.

There are right ways and wrong ways to network. So even if professional socializing makes you feel as though you are out of your element, just try to stick to the proper etiquette and you’ll likely come out successful in the end.

Goodbye for now, and stay tuned for our next installment on networking tips!

The Doostang Team