Networking occurs every day of the week, whether you are meeting someone in a lecture theatre, in a restaurant or whilst at the gym – it’s all about meeting new people and getting to know them better.
Professor Stanley Milgram stated that you are never more than 6 degrees away from anyone in the world! In theory therefore, you are closer to success than you think you are!
It is natural to feel nervous about networking – but don’t – it’s not as bad as you think and practicing definitely helps. Hopefully this booklet will give you some hints and tips which will take you out of your ‘comfort zone’ and into the ‘success zone’.
- Start small – concentrate firstly on the people you know who are already part of your existing network. This can be friends, family, acquaintances and fellow students.
2. Make friends – good networkers don’t network – they make friends.
3. Give to receive – Be know as a person who is trusted and will help others first, before themselves. Build trust and rapport with others and in return you will receive the same.
4. Share your passion – passion in contagious! In return you will draw people towards you who also have similar interests. If you have information, advice and guidance – share it with others.
5. Be a connector – offer to connect people together – think of yourself as a host at a party and you are matching together people with similar thoughts and interests.
6. Remember names – nothing is so bad as getting names wrong! Write them down to help you.
7. Be sincere – listen attentively and ask questions to clarify.
8. Develop your personal brand – YOU are your own personal brand so ensure that you don’t damage your reputation.
9. Thank you – two small words that convey your gratitude. Don’t forget to thank others that have helped you and do it sincerely and timely.
10. Join associations – meet like-minded people and help them be successful too.
11. Find a mentor – Who is already in the position that you want to be in? Who do you want to be like? Ask them to be your mentor – the worst thing they can say is no, so you have nothing to lose (and lots to gain)!
12. Become a mentor – can you help others and become their mentor? There’s nothing more rewards than sharing your expertise.
13. Stay in touch – don’t expect to meet someone for 5 minutes and then expect them to be available for you 5 years later. Keep relationships going like you would with your friends.
14. Do what you promise – building trust and rapport is key in networking. Don’t let people down and forget to do what you promised you would.
15. Networking can be small – offer to meet someone in the café for a 1-1 meeting and spend time getting to know each other and how you can help them.
16. Fear of rejection – people network for the same reasons – to meet others, so it would be very unlikely that anyone would reject you at an event.
17. Write details down – take notes on where you met, their name and contact details. Otherwise, you will forget.
18. Elevator speech – this will change as you progress through your career, but don’t forget to practice it and be able to ask for what you want concisely.
19. Begin with the end in mind – when attending a networking function, apart from meeting new friends and contacts always have a purpose.
20. Don’t prejudge – you never know, who people know so don’t prejudge and think that they won’t have the contacts you need or they would not be interested in meeting you.
21. Badges – wear yours on your top right-hand shoulder/lapel. (Up at the top of the arm that you shake hands with).
22. Don’t invade personal space – be mindful of not standing too close to people and not being so far away that you appear impersonal.
23. Making an impression – you only get one chance to make a first impression – so make sure it’s a good one!
24. Success = generosity – not greed.
25. Ask to be connected – if you attend a networking event and specifically want to meet someone, as the host of the meeting to introduce you.
26. Be yourself – always be genuine and don’t pretend to be someone you are not. Talk from your heart and be passionate – YOU are your own brand.
27. Online networking – equally as important as face to face networking, so ensure you represent yourself well.
28. Linked-In – professional networking groups can be a great help to boost your career, help you find work, or connect with like-minded people. As well as highlighting your profile and experience, join groups, contribute to discussions and be a giver. Remember you are the brand!
29. As your career progresses your elevator pitch may change, so be prepared to keep honing and tuning it to fit your needs.
30. Lastly, you will walk through this University probably only once in your career. It contains a wealth of knowledge and talented people so soak it up and make the most of EVERY opportunity.
If you stepped into an elevator and were faced with a CEO of the company you most wanted to work with, what would you say? You are both going to the 7th floor so time is short (15-30 seconds). The CEO shakes your hand and introduces him/herself and says “I’m Chris Bloggs of The Ultimate Success Company – pleased to meet you – and you are?”
The last thing you would want is to be saying lots of er’s and um’s whilst your mind is thinking rapidly about what to say.
The elevator speech will give you a framework to work to and hones down your words to say exactly who you are, what you offer, and what the benefits are. It can be said in a few sentences that are memorable. It’s rather like Twitter – fitting what you want to say into sentences that make sense!
And, remember that you only get one chance to make a first impression … so a good handshake, eye contact and a smile is a must!
“Hello (handshake), I’m Hilary White, an MBA student from Hull University Business School. My specialism is helping companies gain more customers than they know what to do with, by using some unique tried and proven marketing strategies!
“Hello (handshake), I’m Ashley …. Ashley Brown an experienced Accountant from XYZ company. I help companies put at least a 10% increase on their bottom line, by making really serious tax savings – and if I can’t do it, my services are completely free!”
Elevator Speeches for meeting new contact
“Hello (handshake), I’m Jo Green and I’ve just arrived in Hull to do an MBA. I want to specialize in Marketing with a large company. I haven’t met many people yet, but I’m hoping to meet others who have the same interests, with a view to forming a local group so we can help each other gain experience and grow. Can you help me connect with others?”
“Hello (handshake), I’m Chris Smith and I think I saw you at the Careers Advice Service the other day. I’ve met some other people who also have a Business Admin background, would you like to come and meet them too?”
“Hello (handshake), I’m Lee Singh and like you, I’m new to the MBA here in Hull – I note that you’ve worked in the Dubai in the past, and I’d really like to hear how you got on there, as I’m thinking of doing the same – would you like to meet for coffee?”
When you are Open Networking it can be hard to think about what to say in a conversation, when you don’t really know that person. So take the lead, make the other person feel relaxed and have some stock questions you can ask to get to know the other person better.
“What line of work are you in?”
“That sounds interesting, I’d be really interested to hear how you got into that line of work – did you go straight into it from an apprenticeship or degree course?”
“How long has your company been in business?”
“What’s the biggest challenge your company is facing at the moment?”
“How can I help you move your business forward? Is there something I could help you with, or someone I could connect you to? I’d be pleased to help”
“I’d really like to meet you again to get to know more about your business – would you be free to meet up informally for a coffee at some point in the next week or so?”
“I’m new to networking – can you offer me any advice that you would have found useful when you started networking?”