By Chi Chi Okezie
Are you willing to invest in your networking? Do you see it as a growth journey and a long term asset to your career, business and / or academic development? Many times people use networking to reach a short term goal and do not consider the rewards of truly putting effort into their time and relationships. Creating a plan, setting aside resources and being intentional in your networking endeavors greatly impacts your success.
Listed below are helpful suggestions for making the most of your objectives.
Whether you join a golf club, industry association or local networking group, invest your time and money in a formalized structure. Going to weekly, monthly or quarterly gatherings gives you an opportunity to sharpen your skills. It also allows you to stay up to date on business trends and changes within your industry. Not to mention, it affords you the opportunity to build relationships with like minded individuals with a sense of accountability.
Also, do not limit your club membership to simply in person groups. Consider joining online groups, forums and chapters. It is another chance to branch out virtually and extend your connections. Sharing information, resources, referrals and making introductions can definitely increase your networking abilities.
In The System
Do not leave your networking to chance. Definitely look into purchasing a management software to organize your contact lists. Being organized helps you to easily connect with your contacts, follow up in a timely manner and do productive business. Software updates are also useful for making sure that the system is running efficiently and the info of your contacts is current.
Last but not least, do not overlook or underestimate the power of a good first impression. Make it a point to keep a well groomed and professional appearance when interacting with others. Invest in quality and appropriate clothes, accessories and other aspects which lend towards your physical persona.
Once again, do not neglect your online brand. Post a professional head-shot which corresponds with your role / position. When completing or updating your profile, make sure that your grammar and language are correct and you are providing accurate information. If necessary, hire someone to edit and review your information.
Use these tips to enhance your networking efforts. Take the time, money and resources to promote a presentable image and develop an organizational style for your networking goals.
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