Just ran across this post on networking – 15 Simple Networking Tricks
Definitely recommend checking it out and keeping some of these tricks in mind! Here are a few of my favorite tricks pulled directly from the article:
3. Think About How You’re Different From Everyone Else
You don’t need to have a full-on existential crisis, but you do need to understand why someone would (or wouldn’t) want to network with you at this point. Consider how you can help your connections and how you stand out from your industry. If you need to, write out a few points so that you can get some ideas for conversation topics.
7. Look for People You Want to Network With Ahead of Time
It’s common to be able to look at the expected attendees for many events these days, and social networking can provide you added insight on who will be attending a given event with a little searching. Identify the best people to network with and make a point of introducing yourself at the event. (If I go to a networking event, I always try to pick at least one person I’d like to meet in advance…if I don’t know anyone at all, I tell myself to meet at least one new connection from the event)
8. Make Your Connections Deeper
Just meeting someone in passing at an event (or even online) is just a shallow connection. It’s a great starting point, but if you can take the time to make that connection deeper — say with meeting up for lunch or passing a few lengthy emails back and forth — you can make build a much deeper relationship. It can be as simple as telling yourself that you want to make one connection deeper every week and make a point of acting on that commitment.
11. Don’t Shy Away From People Who Don’t Seem Useful
You never know what the future may bring: You could change industries, strike out on your own, or generally need to know very different people down the line than you do today. Don’t brush off anyone who doesn’t fit in with your current networking needs just for that reason. (Seriously! Don’t get tunnel vision when it comes to networking)
12. Go Outside of Your Industry or Niche
It’s very tempting to build most of your connections within your own industry — especially if your goals focus on sales or business. But by going further afield, you can build a more useful network. It’s rare that any of us only need sales connections, after all. Vendors, media, and other potential contacts are crucial to a healthy network, even if they don’t directly work in your industry.
13. Connect Your Connections
Take the time to make helpful introductions within your own network. The more interconnected your network is, the easier it is to get your contacts to take action. It doesn’t hurt if you can build the reputation as the person always able to make a useful introduction. (I love connecting people who may be useful to each other or interested in similar fields. Especially when it comes to students seeking advice on different industries. Always take time to help a student if you can – it meant the world to me when professionals helped me in school and it’s always good to give back)
14. Follow-Up Is Always Your Responsibility
It’s easy enough to go to an event and hand out a stack of business cards — but the odds are that only 10-20% of the people that you connect with will follow up with you, even if you give them a great reason to do so. If you want to create connections that will actually be useful to you in the long run, you have to take responsibility for following up. (Giving out your card is the first step but you can’t assume anyone will get in touch with you. You know what happens when you assume..)
Another note not included: get on LinkedIn. Find people on LinkedIn. Use LinkedIn. I love it. It’s just so easy and nifty and wonderful…there’s no reason not to.