I am hopeless at real-life networking. I stand around, trying not to look awkward. Thank goodness for online networking. So much easier to send a nice message than actually walking up to the person. If you read on you will learn my 7 LinkedIn Networking Tips that actually takes the ‘mweh’ and ‘ugh’ out of networking in real life!
IF I CAN DO IT, YOU CAN DO IT
Honestly. These LinkedIn Networking tips can be implemented by shy people, introverts and any other “gimme-an-I-hate-networking-label” kinda person. Trust me!
- Find a list of people attending the event you’re about to attend.
- Let people you’re already connected to know you are going.
- Invite the others with a personal message.
- Look up the organisers and/or speakers.
- Connect with organisers and/or speakers.
- Decide who you’d REALLY like to meet.
- Do some serious, professional stalking.
- Follow up after the event.
DARN THAT’S 8 LINKEDIN NETWORKING TIPS
1. Send a nice message (always be nice) to the attendees you’re already connected to. Something along the lines of you both going and how lovely it would be to catch up. Big change some of them will come up to you at the event to say hello. BAM you don’t need to get over your fear of walking up to people.
2. Write a personalised (personalized if you are in the US) invitation to attendees you’re not connected to. Let them know you noticed you are both going. Ask what made them decide to attend, or what they are most looking forward to. Questions are conversation starters right. If you have a conversation, people might remember you.
3. Study the event website, invite, program, brochure or what have you. Once you spot the organisers and/or speakers, look them up on LinkedIn. Find out what expertise brings them to this event AND look for a common interest you have, bonus points if it is unrelated to the event you are about to attend.
4. Connect to organisers and/or speakers. If the event you are attending is a little bigger, a conference even, this might sound daunting. Who am I to reach out to them? Well, YOU are that person that actually shows an interest! Write your invite combining the two things I made you figure out in the previous point.
START WITH WHY (AS SINEK ALWAYS TELLS US)
5. When you decide who you’d really like to meet, keep a few things in mind. Why do you want to meet them? Because you are a fan? You are not the only one, so make an impression first! Look for people who share your target audience from a different angle. Look for influencers. Above all, look for people that just seem to damn nice, funny, different NOT to meet!
6. Here comes the fun bit. Serious, professional stalking! YAY. Visit the profile of one of the people on your short list. Check for ‘recent activity’ click the see more, or show all, or whatever that thing is called. Now before you start scrolling like crazy, look up a little and click “posts”. Now start engaging! This is what THEY POSTED. What they feel strongly about. Comment in a manner that compliments and adds value. Keep this up once a week if there is enough time, otherwise daily. IF THEY RESPOND, if there is some two-way-interaction you can message them to say you’d love to catch up IRL at the event.
7. Follow up the day after the event. Send a nice thank you message to the people you did talk to. Ideally, send them a link to some interesting article related to what you chatted about. Send a message to all the people you DID NOT talk to! Let them know how much you enjoyed the event, that it was impossible to meet every attendee in person. Finish with a question! What did they enjoy most? Or something else low key like that.
NOW YOU KNOW ALL MY SECRETS
I developed part of this strategy by accident. I did the connecting beforehand thing, just to grow my network with like-minded professionals. Then THREE people came up to me to thank me for the nice message and talk to me. WOO HOOT … no more looking awkward and standing by myself at events for me!