How do you feel about this “holiday season”? Love to go to all the parties? Or crawl under a rock till everyone has stopped saying: “Happy New Year”? Like it or not, this is a great time for some serious networking. Offline, but online as well!
Networking in 3 simple steps.
- Go out with a purpose
- Hit the bottle!
- Truly connect
Let’s have a look at each of the steps. How do you use them to turn the next social into a networking event? How to incorporate these steps in your LinkedIn use?
Go out with a purpose
Is it a work function where you know most people? Chances are you’ll have a good time and party-hardy. Think about it though… If you want to network, who do you want to talk to? Is there a colleague who has a great relationship with someone you’d like to be introduced to in the New Year? Or even better, have you got connections that will really benefit a certain colleague? Who will be there that you can genuinely complement on an achievement in the past year?
Work out who you want to talk to and why. Also be prepared for questions about yourself. What is most important to you for people to know? How can you tell it so they can remember and repeat it?
- Introduce the people you spoke with at the party, through LinkedIn with useful contact afterwards.
- Write a brief LinkedIn recommendation to the person you paid a compliment to at the party. Make sure to start with a bold statement about what the recipient did for you. Only the first line or so is visible, make it count.
- Once you have figured out what people really need to know and remember about you, update your LinkedIn Headline accordingly.
Hit the bottle!
Make yourself useful at a party. Poor people a drink, go round with some of the nibblies. This greatly increases your visibility. It shows people your helpful and caring side. It is easy to get near the person you’d otherwise be shy to walk up to. Don’t forget to smile while you offer people a drink or a snack and stay reasonably sober yourself so you don’t say silly stuff. It doesn’t take long for you to find out who is hiding in which corner and where the conversations are you’d like to join in.
- Look up the people you met and see if they posted anything on LinkedIn (check recent activity on their profile). Add a like and an interesting comment. Like pouring drinks this helps your visibility and likeability.
- Did you make eye contact with the people at the party? How about making eye contact with the visitors of your LinkedIn Profile. Make sure you have a picture with a nice smile.
It’s a party so don’t be shy to use as much LSD as you can handle! Listen Summarise Dig deeper (really show an interest). People love a person that really listens to them and shows this by asking more questions. People are sooner to remember the person that cared and listened than the person that talked endlessly.
- Connect with them the following day, mention something specific from your conversation in the invite.
- When you invite is accepted, send a thank you message. In this message add some useful information. A link to an interesting article following your conversation, an offer to put them in touch with so and so…
- Check their recent activity on LinkedIn and contribute positively with a comment that both adds value to the reader and compliments your new connection.
There! Not only have the holiday parties become useful networking events, you’ve undertaken some positive, honest and meaningful networking activity through LinkedIn. I bet you it did wonders for your visibility as well!