One of the key ways to move your career forward is by building relationships with the right people. In career lingo, this is called networking. On the surface, it seems meeting new people that can help you later is what networking is all about. But a more accurate description would be connecting with people and building an invigorating relationship with them to a point where you can easily leverage it when the opportunity presents itself. Of course, networking isn’t merely about developing new relationships, strengthening old allegiances is paramount as well. However, learning to connect with strangers is one of the critical aspects. Not everyone enjoys talking to strangers. But given that it is crucial for moving your career forward, you will have to learn. Here are some tips that you will find valuable for networking with strangers.
Learn to identify great contacts
The truth is, not everyone you meet will be valuable to your career moving forward. But you will need a wide variety of people in your network. This includes individuals within and outside your professional circle. Mostly, you need a sharp instinct to identify the right people. As a general rule of thumb, look out for individuals that are passionate about what they do even if they are not directly in your field. Being able to identify people, you are likely to have a natural connection with it vital too.
Be intentional about networking with strangers
Networking with strangers is all about making a move. With people you already know, you simply have to rekindle old flames. But for total strangers, you have to be deliberate about finding a common interest and initiating a conversation.
Focus on building relationships
Networking is not all about asking for favors. You may have to do that at some point, but you can’t go about asking strangers for a job or pitching ideas at any random person you meet. Focus more on building lasting relationships and friendships. The favors part comes later.
Relationships are built on values. People will only take you seriously when they know you have something to offer too. Look for opportunities to sell yourself and what you can offer when you network with strangers. You only have a limited window of opportunity to demonstrate what you can do. Use it well.
Stay in touch
Don’t just go around gathering contacts that you will probably never get back to. Once you establish a connection with a stranger, be sure to get their contacts. You should also note where you met the person and crucial details about your conversation. Send a quick “great to meet you” mail to your new contact as soon as you can and try to stay in touch. Don’t let relationships lapse.
Seems like a lot of work already? Networking is indeed, work! However, the rewards will be well worth it. Learning to meet new people and network with them effectively is one of the critical skills to mater to help you get a new job and connect you to opportunities that will move your career forward. What are your tips for networking with strangers? Tweet us and share! For more helpful content, check out our blog.