The saying, “It’s not WHAT you know, but WHO you know” exists for a reason. Having someone on the “inside” has always been a good thing. Whether it’s an internship, a job, or a membership, having someone put in a good word for you can help. However, it can be hard to gather connections. Not only can it be hard, it can also be very intimidating to put yourself out there. I am not a social butterfly. So watching someone who is finesse a room full of people and walk away with new business and personal contacts always amazed me. How can I do that? How can I put myself out there like them? One thing the social butterfly and the wallflower have in common when it comes to networking is they have to take the first step. I’m giving you a few tips to help you do that.
Slide Into the DM’s
Although face-to-face interactions are always better when trying to network, sometimes they are logistically impossible. Send a well written email or direct message to the person or organization you’re interested in connecting with. The key thing is to make sure it is professional. Also make sure you’re not coming across as needy or aggressive.
Be Active on Social Media
There are groups and organizations for every niche out there. Even the smallest of them have a social media page. Search through Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to find one that is active. Join groups, comment on posts, ask questions.
Volunteer At Events
Large organizations are always throwing parties and/ or hosting events. And they can always use a helping hand at those parties and events. That’s the perfect time to get involved. You’ll be in the mix without having an actual invitation. Keep an eye and ear out for key names, faces, and job titles. Those are the people you’ll probably want to give your contact info. to when the chance arrives.
Find a Talkative Buddy
If you’re not much of a talker, bring along your talkative friend. At events and parties that have attendees with similar interests as you, allow your friend to strike up conversations. Make sure to introduce yourself during the conversations. Also contribute to the chatter. Don’t just stand there like a bump on a log. When the timing is right, offer your card or social media handle.
Update Your Profile
What’s the point of funneling people to a website, blog, or social media account if the information on those sites is outdated? Make sure the info. on your business cards has been updated. Make sure your website or blog is fresh with new posts. Make sure your social media pages have professional and tasteful posts and photos. You would hate to find out that the right people looked you up and were disappointed with what they found.
If you’re a social wallflower like me, put some of these tips to the test. Hopefully they work for you and your network grows.