Networking is a hot topic in today’s professional world. It sets the stage for potential career opportunities, connects you to other professionals, and helps you develop important professional skills. With so many benefits, then, networking is an important skill to have.
Unfortunately, most people don’t learn how to network properly. Some individuals happen to know good connections, which certainly counts as networking, but it’s a whole different ballgame when you have to network with people you don’t know. After all, where do you meet them and what do you say to turn them into a connection?
Luckily, you can develop and fine-tune your networking skills to ensure that you’re doing the most you can through networking with others. If you need help getting started, here are four quick ways to jump into improving your networking skills.
Set Monthly Goals
Having personal goals is important in all aspects of your personal and professional life. But this is particularly important when it comes to networking. When it comes to networking, it’s easy to forget how many connections you’ve made or even to forget to make new connections every month. Even more, when you are pressed for time, networking is probably the last thing on your mind.
Therefore, monthly goals can keep you on track. When you set a goal for the number of connections you want to make in a month, you hold yourself accountable and keep networking a priority in your life. Start with a small number, perhaps four new connections a month, and set new benchmarks as you get the hang of it. After all, the more connections you make, the better chances you have to make a mutually beneficial professional connection.
Prepare Your Elevator Speech
Practice what you would say during a networking opportunity and know it like the back of your hand. The last thing you want is to make a bad impression on the potential connection and look like you are unprepared.
The easiest way to prepare yourself for networking is to develop an elevator speech. An elevator speech is a short informational blurb about yourself that you could say to someone as you ride in an elevator. They typically last between thirty and sixty seconds and cover your name, what you do, and what you hope to accomplish or why you would be an asset to a team or organization. Of course, you can personalize however you want, but an effective elevator speech essentially covers who you are in the professional world.
Update Your Social Networks
A quick and easy way to improve your networking skills is to brand yourself on social media. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and that you are utilizing Twitter or Facebook to present yourself in a professional manner that enables you to connect with others. Share your favorite articles and quotes and connect with others in your professional field.
Print New Business Cards
Another easy way to ensure that your networking skills are polished is to print new business cards. Design them in a sleek and professional manner with solid colors and without too much going on. Include your name, your job, your place of work, and your contact information. Shy away from including too much other information that would distract the recipient and make it look less professional. This way, you have something to hand to professional connections that will help them remember exactly who you are and how they can contact you in the future.
If you need to sharpen your networking skills fast, these four areas are a good place to start. Once you get started, you will find yourself more prepared to make new connections and network your way to your dream job.
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