By Shereen Shabnam
I seem to be writing about networking constantly because I see a lot of value in it but also realise building meaningful relationships is not as easy as it sounds. How do you see networking and what should you do to get started?
Below are some tips that should help you get started:
- Networking begins by cultivating relationships with like-minded people or peers from your industry. Building contacts and leads will ultimately help you expand your network.
- Being part of professional groups helps and is important because a lot of what we do relies on our professional contacts. For me it is my media and influencer contacts. The title “Public Relations” is self-explanatory as in my business, the relationships I have with the press to benefit stakeholders is everything.
- Begin your networking by getting yourself out there as much as possible be it exhibitions within your industry, lunch with stakeholders or invite people you want to strengthen relationships to sports or theatre events that both parties enjoy.
- Join organizations that allow you to mix, mingle and meet people in your industry. Finding group with like-minded professionals is an amazing way to expand your network.
- Taking courses with professionals in the industry is a great way to network as it shows you are keeping up with the trends and eager to learn new expertise in the business.
- Strive to make at least one or two new connections every month and if you can keep up, increase that up to 3-5 new connections a month. This ensures you will have between 30-60 new connections in a year.
- Keep your connections genuine by reaching out to say hello every few weeks, find out about their work, new projects or meet up with important contacts for coffee/tea every few months.
- When attending a networking event, exchange business cards but reach out soon after to express how nice it was to meet them and look for mutual interests that can help enhance the relationship.