Let’s Chat… Capitalizing on Networking Opportunities!

Welcome back and Happy Friday everyone!

We hope that you are having a great week and diving into all that the holiday season can offer in both personal and corporate settings. As I attended a professional society’s Midwest holiday party last night, I thought it’d be the perfect time to dive into WHY it’s so important to capitalize on networking resources. Especially for those of you living in relatively larger urban cities and surrounded by working professionals, this article is for you. Keep reading here to find out how to network with success…

Capitalizing on Networking Resources

Joining Professional Societies

First and foremost, we highly encourage you to dive into your professional community outside of your internal team. Almost any urban city hosts a variety of professional, volunteer-based, or community-driven societies and organizations that you can participate in at your desired cadence! Joining an organization does not need to look like a weekly commitment, and can even be as infrequent as attending events on a quarterly basis. However, keeping up to date with the pulse of your industry, connecting with other professionals in similar positions, and building a reliable network is undoubtedly the key to long-term professional success. So, use a few minutes today to conduct a Google Search on the resources near you and sign up for an upcoming event in your community!

  • Preparation and Purpose: Before you walk into a networking event, it’s crucial to conduct a quick search on the people you’re going to be around. Have you conducted recent business with anyone in attendance? Are you about to close or submit a new deal? Even if a project fell through with a client, maintaining a sharp memory of the way you’ve professionally encountered others and utilizing that as a conversation starter is a great way to show you’re prepared. Make sure to ask people how they are, follow up on specific projects or personal attributes you previously learned, and even touch on anecdotes that you share where applicable!
    • For example: Did you go to a sporting event this summer with a client? Did you pick up on their love of a certain team? Player? Following up on the team or individual’s performance is a great way to express that you care and invest in the longevity of the professional relationship.
  • Ask Specific Questions: As it relates to our point above, try to avoid ’empty questions’ about someone’s role/career like, “How’d you get here?” or “So, what do you do?” If you’ve initiated a conversation with someone else, it is likely to learn more about their role or company.
    • For example: If you’re speaking to someone on the public relations side of a business, focus questions around, “How have you handled your company’s relationship with X topic/company/etc.? How much of your time do you spend avoiding negative PR vs creating positive PR?” Always make the person you’re speaking to feel valued!
  • Maintain the Relationship: Attending professional networking events may be infrequent or even bi-annually, but communication should not be. Make sure to maintain the relationships that you’ve worked to cultivate! Whether this means a weekly check-in, email update of your recent accomplishments, or quick link to a relevant article, make sure to keep consistent contact and follow-up after your thank you note!
    • Extra Tip: Especially in instances where the people you networked with could assist in a future job opportunity or interview process, remember the value in creating personal relationships that span beyond the scope of day-to-day work and tasks. Showing your desire to keep up to date will undoubtedly assist you in building a support network to vouch for you as it relates to any role.

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