etworking is an important part of building a successful career. The old saying, “It’s not what you know—it’s who you know,” holds more truth than you might think. So think of networking as an investment, not a nuisance. Consider the fact that 80-90 % of jobs are never advertised or placed with an agency. How do they get filled? Through networking. Networking is essential when starting up a new business or just looking for a job. The more people you know, the more potential prospects and opportunities you have.
First Impressions Say a Lot so Be Prepared When initially meeting someone, 93% of the first impression is based on non-verbal data such as appearance and body language. After the initial impression, what is said is very important and becomes the substance and personality. Always go to an event or meeting armed with a solid knowledge of the audience, current events and business acumen. Remember that first impressions do count, and you only have one opportunity to make a good one. When meeting new people, be interesting and interested. People love to be asked questions – it’s an ice breaker for them as well as for you. Once engaged in a conversation on a given topic, the rest will flow. Simply find common interests! Think about the best networking opportunities. Is it a one-on-one meeting over a meal or a drink? Is it an industry association gathering
or serving on a committee? Philanthropic interests? Determine where the prospective clients are involved, and determine your comfort zone. When joining the Chamber, find your passion and where you can contribute the most, and then get involved to maximize the return. Some may be more comfortable in a small group rather than networking at a large event. Choose how you spend your time wisely. Cultivate and Develop Relationships Once involved in the Chamber, start building relationships. There are simple keys to building a lasting relationship: • Keep in touch • Follow up and follow through • Be sincere • GIVE before you expect to receive • Be patient!
Offer to help people. Connecting the dots is an exercise that will continuously come back to you as an unexpected bonus. Assist people searching for a job or their children looking for summer internships. It’s another opportunity to reach out to someone you wish to develop a relationship with, without asking for business, but rather offering an opportunity.
Visit www.ncccc.com to plan your next networking event.