Maybe this person will be my new tour guide in the next city I go to? Maybe I will be able to stay on their couch? Maybe they will come visit me (I love visitors)?
In university, I also had to do networking for business. Maybe this person will know someone to connect me to a job? Maybe this person can help me achieve my business goals?
At the end of the day, networking is all about building relationships.
The top tips I have come to find for in-person networking are
1. Have a firm handshake.
I don’t know how many times I have received a “fish” handshake and have been thrown off or have family or friends tell me about a “fish” handshake that made them feel uncomfortable. Practice with friends or family! I honestly believe a firm handshake is much more impressive than wearing the best suit or dress in the world.
2. Don’t pitch too soon, if at all.
In business networking, there is often the elevator pitch. This is useful when you are at a career fair or a timed session, but in general, if you are discussing over drinks, leave the pitch at home. Truly have a conversation with the person. Because, your value will shine more through this conversation than through your pitch. Guaranteed.
3. Ask questions about the other person.
This goes back to my having a conversation with the person. Everyone likes talking about themselves when they feel the other party is interested. It might be about their kids, their job, their favorite books. There is something everyone is willing to talk about for hours. My little game is to see what things we have in common so I end up asking a lot of questions! But, I have also made some really awesome connections!
So, these are nice tips for in-person, but what does it have to do with online networking?
I have found, it is more or less the same. The internet and social media have been popular the last decade, but it hasn’t been until recently that many are using it for networking purposes and even then, when it is used, people seem to think it is different than in-person networking.
The tips are the same with some fine tuning.
Unlike in-person, there is a geographical restriction on who you can talk with. While the internet provides people from all over the world!
So many groups have appeared on LinkedIn and Facebook for the sole purpose of helping people connect and engage with each other either for business purposes or just for their love of travel.
More and more people are following their dreams and becoming entrepreneurs and reaching out to others. This is amazing! But, I have found there is still a void when it comes to networking.
Recently, through a Facebook group, a woman connected with me. I messaged her thanking her for reaching out and just asked some questions on what she does and how did she get into it, etc. She gave me one worded answers and after a few minutes asked me how to network as she didn’t know.
I told her the same as above minus the handshake, which I will get back to, “Be Genuine and Ask Questions.”
She responded with the thumbs up emoji.
Perhaps, she will use my advice for future networking conversations.
Another woman approached me via a Facebook group and as soon as I started a conversation, she proceeded to block me.
Numerous times in the variety of entrepreneur groups I am apart of, individuals have commented that they do not like when members approach them online with just the pitch. They complain they want relationships.
So, at the end, in-person networking is no different than online networking.
A true conversation must be held. Questions should be asked about the other person in a genuine manner. And the handshake? It is all about how the individual presents themselves online.
Do they give a little insight into what makes them connected such as a related Facebook group or two? Or is it just a message talking about them rather than what is in common?
Here is a conversation I had with another woman online that I find is a perfect example:
We connected via a Travel/Entrepreneur Facebook group and we reached out to one another to see if we could do a guest posting swap. She writes for my travel blog, I write for hers.
When the conversation first started, I was sure to bring up which group I was referring to and talk about her travel blog and how she got started. I also told her I was open to write any subject she would like. Aside from this, I gave her a compliment (which I truly believe!).
Having open ended questions enabled her to give me some longer answers that I was able to ask more questions.
At the end, I found out about her life with her boyfriend while I shared my own. This conversation ended up lasting an hour before she had to go to bed (she was a few hours ahead of me).
The next day, she reached out and asked me if she could write and pay for a sponsored article for her travel company on my travel blog. In other words, she would write the article (as she knows her company the best) and would pay me to have it onsite and promote it on social media.
I did not pitch. I truly wanted to connect with her and exchange guest postings on travel because….I love travel and writing!
There is so much more to write about networking, in-person or online, but this is the main part of it.
What do you think? Do you agree? Do you have things to add? Be sure to comment below and let me know what you think!
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