As a career coach, I encourage my clients to be actively engaged in both online social media networking, and traditional in-person networking.
There are networking groups for almost every corporate function, level, and industry. A Google search or visit to Meetup.com or Eventbrite will uncover many well known and obscure networking groups. And if you can’t find one, you can create one!
Joining and attending a group meeting allows you a forum to eloquently broadcast a message to an audience that most likely are already intrigued by you, as many will be in the same industry and have the same skill sets. This means the conversation will be easier and more open.
Being new has its advantages
When attending a group for the first time, be aware that you are on show. This is your grandstand. Be sensitive to your diction, your poise and posture, and definitely look the part by choosing the right clothing.
This is also your opportunity to create, rehearse and deliver your own elevator speech, sometimes known as the infomercial. Your goal here is to encapsulate your value in an articulate and succinct message.
Like a job interview, networking is a two-way street. Once your introduction has been made, hopefully people will approach you for further conversation one-on-one. This is a good time to enhance your relationship, and at the end of that exchange, ask to connect on social media and be sure to follow up.
Use your time well
There are only 24 hours in the day, and you cannot attend every group every week. Not all groups are beneficial to everyone. Assess if your time at this event has been valuable to you. What potential leads might it generate?
Just don’t expect results the first time. People need to get to know you, and develop trust and respect before they can advance the conversation to others who may bring value to your career or job search.
Networking is the most important strategy for executive career management. Just remember this when you’re visiting a new group: Be purposeful in your mission. Look the part, play the part, and part with good feelings all around.