We all know that Networking is an essential element of any job search, but many people don’t know specifically HOW to network. So in this quick article I’ll share with you the most important element of networking, and then give you my favorite strategy to make it effective.
So what’s the most important element of networking?
It’s the follow up! The great thing about knowing that is that you learn it doesn’t really matter if you say something stupid at the event or if you do something you wish you hadn’t, because the true relationship building is done in the follow up.
I’ll share a quick story to show you what I mean. A few years ago I flew out to Denver for a meeting of other staffing firm owners. Many of the biggest names in the staffing industry were there. It was a great chance to get to know some of the legends of our industry; I was really excited about it.
Well, at the very high-brow catered dinner, as I was scooting in my chair, my name tag which was hanging from my neck, swung forward and dipped into the red marinara sauce of my dinner, and then when I leaned back it proceeded to smear all over my white shirt! I had no idea! The dinner went on for hours and nobody said anything.
Did we go home afterwards? No of course not! We all went out as a group to a comedy club for a few more hours out in pubic! When I got back to the hotel room and saw the stain, all I could think was, “Really? Did that seriously happen tonight?”
But you know what? I had a follow up plan, and kept in touch with these people, they are still a part of my network all these years later, and nobody’s talking about my shirt!
At your next networking event, try this:
Go in looking for reasons to follow up with people. To send them an article, or to ask them a question, or anything. Then when you get home from the event, write them an email and send them what you said you would send.
Here’s your Pro Tip for the week: Write them another email from the perspective of 3 weeks from that day. “Hi Joe, I hope you remember we met a few weeks ago and I was just thinking.” and create your follow up email while everything is still fresh in your mind. Then do one more from a 3 month perspective.
Then use a Delay Delivery feature on your email so they automatically send at the appropriate times in the future, blind carbon copying yourself so you are reminded of when they go out.
Most email clients have a feature like this. By using this, now your follow up is already done, you don’t have to worry about forgetting to do it, and your network will grow.
I have more networking ideas, but before this article gets too long, I’ll stop here and in my next article I’ll give you a few more.
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Today, start setting up some follow up emails to strengthen those friendships, it will help you. Networking doesn’t have to be so intimidating, you can do this. It’s time to get to work.