Organic Networking: 3 Tips for Natural Success
Every interaction you have, with everyone from your pet sitter to your massage therapist, is an opportunity to network professionally. But how do you most effectively represent and market your company or personal brand without seeming opportunistic, inappropriate, or intrusive?
Here are some quick tips to help you make connections, expand your social network, and nurture professional relationships.
Extroverted people seem to have it so easy, making friends with everyone from their UPS delivery person to other dog owners in the park! But these interactions don’t rely on actually connecting deeply with everyone; instead, making successful connections can be as easy as noticing and remembering things about the people you see frequently. Taking the time to notice and acknowledge the people you routinely interact with can help you extend your social network slowly but significantly. For example, remembering your law office’s UPS carrier’s name and inquiring about her baby can help your brief interactions be social connections as well as routine service calls. Carrying an extra biscuit to the dog park can help you win over a friendly pup (and his owner). When your UPS carrier needs to write a will or your park friend gets a speeding ticket, you might be the first lawyer to pop into their minds.
Be aware of what people do and what they need, and make people aware of what you do and the needs you fulfill—without trying to sell them anything. As the old axiom goes, “people like to work with people they like.” Most everyone participates in social groups outside of work, which can be fertile ground for potential professional connections. Use your social media profiles to post links to interesting articles about your profession; share amusing anecdotes about your job during long runs with your training group; or volunteer at the food bank wearing your company t-shirt. If you’re an event planner, for example, the more people in your social network who know what you do, like you, and think you are trustworthy, the more likely it is that one of them will call you when they need to plan a wedding or corporate event. Expanding your social network multiplies your chances to use your social connections for professional advancement (without being a pest).
Most people can tell when they’re being “schmoozed” or manipulated, and few respond well. If you’re not a social butterfly, but you’re at an event that calls for some social interaction, try being honest about your discomfort: “I never know what to say at these things! Small talk just isn’t my strong point—I’m more of a numbers and details kind of person. Hi, I’m Julie, by the way.” Especially in situations where you feel vulnerable or exposed—literally or figuratively—being open about your insecurity can earn you respect.
Another great way to gain and strengthen connections, especially if you’re not great at chit-chat, is to ask open-ended questions and genuinely listen to the responses. Most people like to …read more
Source:: HubSpot Blog