Top 5 – Ways to Network

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Top
5 – Ways to Network

As I’ve been crossing the nation on the GovUp tour, I’ve been thinking about
the best ways to connect and meet others.

As such, here are my top 5 ways to network:

1) Just show up – Very simply, most people are just too scared to show up. You kind of
want to go, but just aren’t sure you are up for it. 95% of the battle is just going.

2) Be curious – All you have to do is ask questions. People like talking about themselves and sharing
information. It doesn’t have to be
deep – where do you work, what do you do there, etc.

3) Smile – Everybody wants to hang out with the person having a good time. Don’t look bored, sad, mad, tough in
the corner. Don’t play on
your phone the whole time. Just
smile and act like you are having a good time.

4) Raise your hand – If there is a
speaker, raise your hand and ask a question. The speaker will appreciate it and others will notice you. Making it easier to network afterwards.

5) Actually follow-up – Much like #1, it is very easy but nobody does it. I met tons of people and give out lots
of cards. I’d guess maybe 2%
actually ever follow-up with me.
Try to do it the next day – send an email, a LinkedIn or GovLoop invite
to stay in touch

How do you do your networking?

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Also here are some other top 5’s of mine:
Top 5: Ways to Get Your Next Gov’t Job
Top 5: Best Places to Have a Government Job
Top 5: Worst Places to Have a Government Job
Top 5: Places to Network at Work
Top 5: Gov’t Shows That Should Exist
Top 5: Things I Wish the Boss Did
Top 5: Ways to Tell a Contractor Apart From a Govie
Top 5: Signs You Need A New Job

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13 Comments

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Profile Photo Jay S. Daughtry, ChatterBachs

Great pointers, Steve. Basic but essential. Showing an interest in others (reflected in #2, #4, and #5) is key; make sure it’s not just about your agenda. I would venture to say that these insights work the same way in social media. That’s interesting that only about 2% follow up with you. Nice GovLoop plug you slid in there right at the end!

Reply
Profile Photo Kitty Wooley

Steve, this is really good advice coming from a veteran networker, and I appreciate your taking the time to share it. I also like what Bill and Jay have to say. Although, Bill, sometimes I have monopolized one or two people when we’ve used the occasion to outline a plan and make initial commitments.

I laughed when I read “95% of the battle is just going” – so true! For the shy people among us, which I still am once in a while, “Fake it ’till you make it” and “Get up, dress up, and show up” also comes to mind.

The way I treat #5 is rarely to promise to get in touch – but if I say I will, to make absolutely sure I do – because trust is won or lost in those small increments. Do I do what I say I will do? My reputation as well as potential opportunities in the future are on the line. ,

Reply
Profile Photo Megan Dotson

Depending on the event itself; don’t jump right into work conversations. People are more than what they do. Get to know people and start real relationships. If work talk begins don’t spend the whole evening having this type of conversation; set up a meeting and take it a step further.

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Profile Photo Jay S. Daughtry, ChatterBachs

I completely agree, Megan. “Personal time is golden time” is a saying I learned a few years ago. Take an interest in families, hobbies, activities, vacations, etc. There’s always a place to start these conversations.

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Profile Photo Douglas G. Detling

Follow up is very important. I got about 35 happy birthday wishes on Facebook, and had decided in advance to reply to each and every one. Also agree with Steve that 95% of networking is “showing up.”

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Profile Photo Kitty Wooley

Megan and Jay, I like what you say about relationships. It seems like a no-brainer that they’re the foundation for everything else, but maybe we do have to articulate that everything isn’t about work! At the same time, I really love connecting with people who are doing work that they find deeply meaningful and want to advance further by informal partnering. The problem I find at work is that most people stay inside their stovepipes, thereby pushing any possibility of relaxed crosscutting dialogue into the evenings.

Reply
Profile Photo Alan Raisman

Building relationships are key to networking, but keeping those relationships are even more important. If you are attending a presentation, showing your interest in very important. Because when the presentation is over, and you go up to the presenter, they are going to remember you from their audience. Instead of simply saying, “I liked your presentation,” ask a question.

The most important tip I can provide is that when you enter a presentation or meeting to network, turn your phone off until you are ready to leave. If you need to exchange information with an individual using your cell phone or need to add an event to your calendar using your cell phone, write that information down and add it when you get home.

The greatest tip I read was to write a brief phrase on the back of your business card when you hand it to someone so they can remember where you met or a little more about you than simply your email address and phone number. What makes your business card stand out in someone else’s Rolodex?

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