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3 Tips to Succeed in Networking

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Networking is a Science and Art
Talking to my daughter's school counselor the other day got me thinking. It got me thinking about the basics and the power of Networking. To set the picture for you, I'll be presenting for career day at my two daughters school. 

However, before that I had emailed a teacher and the school counselor about presenting at career day with an high school chum of mine Damon Jones, he's an educator and the Founder of S.T.E.A.M America a non profit for the advancement of science, technology, engineering, art and math for youth.
Get back, get back. You don't know me like that
She hadn't replied yet after a couple weeks had passed. I had already spoke with my daughters teacher and we were looking to hear back from the counselor. I caught her that day in the school office and I asked her about whether she got my email and her thoughts on it. I actually got her name confused with another member of the staff and she politely corrected me. She told me that yes she had got my email. Thought it was a great idea, yet had not had a chance to reply. I didn't give her a hard time (after all, I flubbed on her name), but of course I wanted a response to my email out of courtesy. I told her that I understood, then moved on to my questions at hand. She joked that she should have made a better first impression, because one day she may need a job from me and that she hadn't had a good start. Turns out to be a very good point.

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We talked a little more about what Damon and I would present. She loved it so much and ended up asking if I would be interested in being somewhat of a resident career day presenter depending on how well things went. I gladly obliged and I went on to further explain to her what I do as a marketing consultant/coach, web designer, and blogger.

She expressed that she wish she had the guts to go out in her own and be her own boss. I told her she did, and that if she thought about it we all have the entrepreneurial spirit within us. I gave her the example of moving up in your career as being the same as an entrepreneur. In the spirit that you are always selling yourself and your talent to get ahead in the workplace or with clients. Be it an increase in pay, a promotion, a potential client or a new job. You're only as valuable as your ability to express your assets effectively.Which leads me to... 

3 Tips to Successful Networking

Respect others time and reply in a reasonable time.

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When networking in person, via email, or on social media with an individual or a business. Remember that just about everyone has a busy schedule, but be courteous and always try to reply within a timely manner. Even if you're not interested, reply quickly and inform the other party. You never know if there could be a productive connection in the future.

The counselor wasn't trying to ignore my email, I seriously don't think so. She just failed to get back to me in a timely manner. I've been guilty of this myself a time or two in the past. Just like the counselor joked about the bad first impression and the job. She's correct and her acknowledging that helped to lighten the situation.

You never know who and how a connection may pan out to be. That person just may be that someone that's instrumental in the progress of your career or business. Not everyone is understanding that you don't reply and their perception of you has now been compromised. You can always fix this is you know how, but why even do it in the first place.

Always get your contact name correct and try to know their background.

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Don't make the same mistake I made. Which was purely a slip of tongue by the way, and nonetheless incorrect. Don't get your connections name confused if you can help it. Granted both names start with the same beginning letters, still that's no excuse.

This detail may seem trivial or as something that may not need to be focused on. Once again, depending on the situation the party involved may perceive you as less professional and not focused. You may even come of as disingenuous and one minded.

If you don't have the background story, you don't have all the tools needed tho connect. If possible try to look up your connection online. This away you have something tho build on with that individual our business. Know to grow. It's all about building a relationship/rapport.

Always close the deal and get your story across.

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After getting the names and background out of the way. Now it's time to get to the business at hand. What makes you, you? Be sure to clearly get your story across, while listening intently to the other persons responses. I call this closing the deal for a number of reasons. Here are three:

1. The whole point of connecting with someone is to get your story across.
2. You need get and understand their story and what part you could play in that.

3. Your reason for contacting them was to get some goal accomplished and successfully add them to your network if possible.

You either want to end with your answer questioned, get key information, lead this individual somewhere or leave room for a follow up down the line and build a pipeline. Either way, you want to close the deal. So get out there and network til your hearts content and make it count.

For more posts like this and to join the conversation. Visit my Facebook page Hip Mommy Chicks or follow me on Twitter @hipmommychicks for valuable tips and advice.

By: Narjah Stewart, Marketing Consultant

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