For some time now, I have been called resourceful, well-connected, even “The Connector.” I consider this quite the compliment because I take pride in the relationships that I have built over the years. If you stay focused and committed to building solid relationships, networking can likewise make a difference in your professional and personal life as it has mine.
In an effort to help you succeed in the art of networking, here are seven great tips that I have found to be extremely helpful for me and others whom I have coached.
Be Yourself. There is only one you, so be genuine and interested in getting to know other people. In doing so, make it a point to ask sincere questions about family, hobbies and work.
Set A Goal. Set in mind a defined number of people that you would like to meet or talk to when attending networking events. Show up prepared to work the room, and make sure the people that you are interested in are aligned with your goals.
Arrive Early. Devora Zack, author of “Networking for People Who Hate Networking,” says that introverts thrive in small group conversations but clam up in crowds. One trick for avoiding such a networking nightmare is to show up early when there are fewer people (source: Zack). The venue is quiet and calmer when you come early. It also gives you opportunity to connect with people who aren't engaged in conversation yet.
Follow Up. Make contact via email, text message, or phone call within 48 hours of any initial meetings. If you exchanged business cards, then write the name and date of the event where you met that person on the back of their card. Furthermore, hand-written notes are always in style. Just be sure to reference something from your conversation that will help the person remember you.
Go Beyond Your Industry. Be your own ambassador and don't be afraid to meet people outside your industry. This allows you to have a diversified group of resources to share ideas, help with projects and/or give feedback from a different perspective.
Build Relationships. Building relationships takes time, so make it a point to connect with your connections each quarter. One way you can do so is by meeting up for coffee or lunch to share updates, ideas etc. When scheduling time to meet, always keep your word and show genuine interest in the individual. It can't be all about you, if you expect to build strong relationships with your network.
Introduce Others. Develop the habit of connecting people who may be a good fit for each other and could benefit from working together. Your network will continue to grow when you assist others in building their networks.
Hopefully the seven tips shared in this article have provided you some simple, effective ways to improve your networking skills. If you are looking for more insightful content to help you better market yourself, your company or an organization you may volunteer for, then visit my website (
) and dive into the blog posts, podcast episodes and free resources available there to help build your network.
Aliah M. Henry
CEO, The Henry Group
Follow Me! Facebook, IG and Twitter @aliahhenry @consultantsTHG