10 tips for effective professional networking

by 01 Dec 2009

Professional networking can be an important element in your career, particularly if you are thinking of making a move to a new job. We give you ten tips for getting the most out of networking opportunities.

Before you embark on a determined networking campaign you must define your goals. You must determine: why you are doing it; what the objective is; how much money you can invest; and how you will know you have reached your goal.

1) Real world networking – as opposed to the online version – should be targeted around meeting people and the best way to kick this off is to go to relevant seminars or events (e.g. Google Hr Network Groups) where the subject matter is going to attract the sort of people you want to network with.

2) Join the group: Buy a membership and attend regularly– it might be wise to consider the fact that it may take some time to get the results you want.

3) Swap business cards with those in neighbouring seats – say hello and take stock.

4) After the event: One to three days afterwards follow up with relevant people you have met – build rapport and introduce your interests.

5) Use some basic manners in social situations: Don’t interrupt. Usually people will give you their business card – if you can’t speak with them then ask if it is OK to call them later. Get agreement then your following up is with permission

6) Say hello to the main speaker at the event – give feedback

7) Say hello to the event organiser – they generally know most about who is in the room.

8) Explain what your objectives are to those you meet and ask for on-referrals or ask how they might help you

9) Thank those people who help you along the way – offer to return the favour

10) If you find what you are looking for say thanks to the provider and to those who have assisted you. Making people feel that they have helped you creates a positive outcome to networking – we all feel good when someone appreciates us. It also encourages them do it again for you or for someone else like you.

- David Owens, managing director, HR Partners

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