'Tis the season to be networking. Though everyone thinks December is a time when people tend to slack off, it is actually a great time to network with all the extra parties and vacation days. At the end of the year, companies sometimes find room in the budget they didn’t think would be there. People also tend to leave at the end of the year after they have finally received their bonuses so there may be quite a few openings.
So look at your next holiday party or gathering as an opportunity to make your next set of contacts (or just set up a coffee meeting on one of your days off!). And here are some tips to keep in mind about the importance of networking from some very smart women.
Networks are where knowledgeable people come together to accomplish things that they want to. I have also thought about the leadership and future leadership—command and control has worked very well for a lot of years. Collaboration and communication as is now enabled by social media and by the Internet… brings people together through collaboration, communication, formulation is a very, very powerful wave that we are going to see.
Some people tend to look at networking as a chore. but it can actually be so fun. Yes, it can be a little intimidating to talk to people you have never met before but the payoff has great potential. Krawcheck told Glamour:
It’s as easy as saying, ‘Here are two women you should speak to about that project.’ I just did those women a favor, and they’re going to remember me. Plant seeds, plant seeds, and don’t ask for anything. The seeds will grow.
Alli Webb, founder of Drybar (she is the reason your hair looks so good) attributed having a strong network to why her business was able to grow so quickly. Most men she talked to about the idea for a salon that just did blowouts told her it wasn’t going to work, but all the women said to go for it. “I credit that time to this amazing buzz in Los Angeles. Everyone was just pulling in favors,” she said.
LinkedIn’s Career Expert Nicole Williams, the bestselling author of “Girl on Top: Your Guide to Turning Dating Rules into Career Success,” and Secret’s Career Confidence Coach, said you really have to look at networking as a conversation. Don’t just make your elevator pitch and then run away. She says:
Don’t get caught up in, “I need to get everything out there in five minutes” or that networking has to happen at the office or at a networking-specific event. Networking is a two way street, founded upon a real conversation. Build an arsenal of get-to-know-you questions ranging from “where are you from” to “what’s your favorite part of your job;” people love to talk about themselves and once you establish who they are and what you have in common, the conversation will flow more naturally. When you network at the dog park or coffee shop start with, “What a beautiful day” or “What breed is your dog?”
And remember networking doesn’t have to be done in person. You can make a real impact on the phone and via email. It would be great to meet for a coffee, but sometimes you just really don’t have the time. Kate White, the former Editor in Chief of Cosmopolitan and career expert, wrote on her web site:
In recent years, I’ve done some of my best “connecting” over the phone. It’s a far less random way to meet key people than at an event. Just last week, I had a great conversation with a woman who supplied me with ton of info I needed for a project I was working on. A mutual acquaintance helped set up the call. Don’t be afraid to ask your contacts to introduce you via email to people who can help you (use LinkedIn’s advance search feature to your advantage) and then inquire if the person would be open to a short phone conversation.
And finally remember to not be afraid. It is a little scary to go out and meet people. It definitely brings you out of your comfort zone but it is worth it. Lo Bosworth, founder of Revelry House, said at a conference earlier this year that for networking, you have to be brave! You have to ask for introductions and get drinks with strangers, but it pays off.
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