Networking Tips for Women
We network all the time whether we know it or not. We network at work, in our neighborhoods and we socially network on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google +, so here are some tips on how to network better, or start if you don't know how.
1. Opportunities Are Everywhere - Talk to people you don't know where ever you go. At the grocery store, the train or bus ride to work or at the book store. You never know who's next to you and talking to complete strangers is also a good confidence builder. Striking up a conversation with someone you don't know builds your confidence so when you do end up talking to someone that could help you in your career, you'll feel more comfortable.
2. Always Smile - Just keep smiling. That way no one can tell if you're truly happy or gritting your teeth. A smile is also powerful. Dale Carnegie and Associates is a global training company, and the company chairman, Peter Handal says that people get so wrapped up in the networking process, that they forget to smile, so they're walking around scowling all the time. People are more likely to warm up to someone who smiles and greets people with a friendly, "good morning!"
3. Be Brave - Don't be afraid to brag about yourself and your achievements when talking to others about your work. It won't make you sound arrogant, because you never know when someone is going to ask you about your job and why you like it. Have an answer in your head that begins with "I love by job because ______ " that way you won't have to stutter and sputter and search the cranial attic for a coherent answer.
4. Deal With the Cold Shoulder - You're going to get snubbed. It's a fact of life. It sucks, but you can handle it. It's better to strike up a conversation and risk rejection than to not talk to someone who may turn out to be interesting. Just dust yourself off and keep going.
5. Stay in Touch - Conventions, conferences and the like aren't just for business card swapping. They're also for learning and networking. When you get back to the office or back into the hotel room that night, put all of your new contacts into your PDA or your email contacts list and just send each one of them a short email about how nice it was to meet them. Also include one or two things they talked about in your conversation with them and ask a question. It may also be handy to bring some three by five index cards and a glue stick with you to the conference. When you get back into your room, glue the business card to the index card and write a few short notes or comments about your meeting with them. Especially if there was something that stuck out to you during your conversation. If they spoke of their hobbies and passions, and it included boating or sailing, in the spring you can ask if they've put the dock in. If they were a skier, after the first snow, ask if they have any big trips planned. They'll remember that you remembered and you'll connect with them on a deeper level.
Looking for more? Check out the book, The Ultimate Guide to Successful Networking by Carol Stone. She's super smart and a super networker. It's a good read for the new college graduate looking to advance in their first big job, or for the experienced professional looking to polish their skills.