If you want to move forward in your career, then you must learn to be Bold and Fierce! It might not feel comfortable at the beginning but trust me, once you get comfortable people will want to get to know you. In face they call me “The Networker” so I feel I have some pointers to help you master the art of business networking.
Here are my 7 tips to achieve success with business networking. Let’s start at the beginning and guess what, the first 2 business networking tips are ones you’ll learn on your own before you step into the room to meet others.
1. Know Your Industry
Before attending business networking events, learn enough about your field to share with others. This can include types of jobs, titles, roles, as this will help you navigate networking events. It is also important that you have expertise in your chosen career path as this will help you identify those people who might be able to help you achieve your career goals. Think conversation starters ! Know your craft!
2. Know Your Brand
Yes, you need a business card (you can design and print them at VistaPrint). It might seem dated but I believe it is an excellent way to represent your brand. It should include your website and contact information. As an Actor, I have my headshot on my business card to make it easier for them to remember me! If the other party does not have one to exchange, there’s always Facebook or just take down their email in your phone notes!
3. Get Into the Business Networking Room
This is the hardest part, getting invited into the room? A great way to do this is joining like-minded groups. I am an Actor and Producer, so I look for networks that would be beneficial to me. For example, I belong to the New York Women in Film & Television network (NYWIFT). There are other groups I may join in the future like Film Fatales, Women in Film LA.
I attend women and film panels. Most recently I went to the NYWIFT Power Brunch at the Hamptons International Film Festival. I was able to meet an array of power house women in the Entertainment Industry. This led to more invites to private screenings, meeting female playwrights, writers, filmmakers and even finding collaborators!
For my music career as a Singer, I recently attended the Women International Music Network event to meet like-minded artists and musicians. There is also the Women in Music organization that hosts a variety of seminars, panels and even showcases. These events and special networks are out there! You just have to research your chosen field!
4. Be Yourself
Once you’re at the event, you get to pick who you speak with. In some situations especially if you go alone, people will come up and speak to you. But I usually approach anyone and just start a conversation with them (I love meeting new people!)
If you are at a networking event, other people will be looking to make connections, so just say hello. If for example you are at a screening, introduce yourself to the person sitting next to you! And the most important piece of advice I can give is to BE YOURSELF and Be Confident!
5. Your Business Networking Pitch
Prepare a business networking pitch! This is your introduction which should cover:
- What you’re currently doing and be specific (but respect client privacy).
- Who you work for and the role you play in the group.
- What your career aspirations are.
- Ideas for how you can help others …
6. Follow-Up is Key to Business Networking Success
With the business cards and contact information you have accumulated, add each name to an excel document. Then reach out to them within 3 days of the event. Keep track of your contact with them, and be persistent with those you feel would really help your career.
… But I think it is always best to follow up the day after before they’ve forgotten about you and the meeting!
Organize a time to meet up for coffee with the people you have met, as this gives you a chance to really get to know the other person and their business. Networking can lead to jobs, referrals, or even new business partners! I am beginning an all female brand who want to bring together and empower women through music. Many of these women I met through networking or referrals!!
Never be afraid to put yourself out there and network! Unless you do this, you’ll never know what you’re missing.
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