As we now start to embrace the virtual space, the art of networking can be very daunting for anyone, especially if you now find yourself seeking work after being employed for a long time or you have started a new job and want to make an impact.
This month we had the benefit of collaborating with Lee Foster who runs Revitalise, a highly successful UK networking group for business professionals. He has given us some of his top tips.
Lee states that: “You need to set out the right expectations and objectives in developing your network. It is a long game so you should develop a strategy. You may want to stop because of all the knock backs in the process, but you need to keep in place the correct mindset and the long-term gain, as you will learn more about yourself and others on the Journey!”
Lee has put together his top five areas that will assist you in becoming an effective networker.
Top 5 Tips for Effective Networking
- Strategy & Preparation
What are your objectives?
- New Knowledge, Skills and Connections?
- Increase your Profile?
- Opportunity to access vacancies before they are advertised or explore the world of self- employment?
If you are new to networking, Lee advises that you should find the one that is right for you, as each event will deliver something different, and some may suit you more than others. Before you make the commitment to a group make sure it is a good fit for you and your objectives.
2. Delivering your message- The power of telling your story
At Lee’s events and like many other networking events you are given the opportunity to introduce yourself. His advice is:
- Stand out from the crowd and showcase your skills and expertise.
- Make sure your introduction is visible and brings your story to life.
- Remember these 3 steps when putting together your message.
- Introduce yourself!
- Tell your story – what can you offer
- How can we help each other?
3. Effective Listening
Lee is a great believer that you need to actively listen when networking. It is not a one- way street so always consider:
- What do others want to achieve from the meeting / event?
- Identify those with similar objectives to yours? They may even be able to look out for job opportunities for you and you can return the favour.
- Identifying strategic partnerships, how can your network contacts help them and take the opportunity of providing introductions to contacts in each of your network circles. They will be bound to return the favour.
- If you are nervous as this is new to you, have prepared conversation starters and open-ended questions such as how, who and why. It will demonstrate your interest and open many discussions.
4. Follow Up
Lee always encourages a follow up meeting, especially virtual events. So, throughout the event identify connections you can organise a one- to- one meeting with over zoom. Lee believes it is really important to establish that trust and rapport.
5. Measurement & Introductions
Finally, Lee advises to always review your monthly activities
- Did you achieve your objectives?
- What has been your investment in time?
- What support has been generated?
This will allow you to understand what is working and what can be improved.
Hopefully with this guidance from Lee you feel more equipped and confident to start attending networking events. If you are interested in find out more from Lee or attending one of his events you can find out more here: – https://card.pramaze.com/lee-foster