Tag: Opportunity Cost

What To Do Within 48 Hours Of A Networking Event

You made the effort to attend a networking event, even if you didn’t know anyone who would be there and that thought made you uncomfortable.  You forced yourself out of your comfort zone and walked around the room to meet people.  With time, you got into a groove and solidified how to begin and end conversations and also how to transition conversations into introductions.  Now you’re home and you’re glad you went.  You met some interesting people, identified synergies and had some great conversations.

So what happens now?

You’ve heard the importance of networking and looking for ways to grow and foster your network.  You’ve also had a lot of guidance on how to prepare for and what to do during networking events.  But do you know what you should focus on within 48 hours of a networking event?

Here is a to-do list to ensure you ride out the momentum from a networking event and build your relationships on a strong foundation:

Take notes.  While the conversations you had are still fresh in your mind, go through the business cards you obtained and make some quick notes on the back with key information about the person and topics discussed.  Make note of what they do, things that are of interest to them and what they need help with.

Do Research.  Take the initiative to deepen your understanding of the person, there involvement in various activities and find common grounds. These days, it is easy to find additional information on others on sites like LinkedIn and via personal or business websites. There is only so much you can fit into a short networking conversation so leverage these other means to your advantage.

Reach out.  Continue the conversation by reaching out via email or phone.  Let them know it was a pleasure meeting them, you enjoyed the conversation, and we’re happy to help in the event you can be helpful.

Reinforce your value.  Share an article or resource that is an extension of where your conversation left off.  Show that you can provide value to your new contact and that you can help them with their top-of-mind items.

Connect on social networks.  Let social networks help you continue the conversation.  Follow your new contact on LinkedIn or Twitter.  If they’re sharing interesting content, retweet it to share with your followers.  Acknowledge them in a tweet for what they do and what you’ve learned from them.

Extend an invitation to meet.  Take the initiative in deepening the relationship by meeting in person so you to know them better and can also discuss projects  you’re both working on and how you can help each other.  This could be over coffee or a cultural or sporting event.

Offer to introduce them to others.  Do the heavy lifting in helping them expand their network by introducing them to people who could be of help.  This will help establish you as someone who is well connected and as a go-to person if they’re looking to meet a certain type of person at a later date.

Your timeliness in acting after a networking event is crucial and lifts some of the weight in terms of how much time and energy it takes.  The faster you get to know the person at a deeper level and create a genuine relationship, the more flexibility you’ll have in continuing the conversation with them.  So take advantage of the momentum and create a bridge to what happens next.

Have you used a similar approach after your networking events?  How has it been helpful?  Are there additional things that you do to build your relationship with new contacts?  Share your comments below!

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Here’s Your Networking Guide for Spring and Summer

Do you notice the universal joy that emanates when spring arrives?  With the sun shining brightly and flowers blooming, everyone is eager to trade in the heavy winter coats for sunglasses and brightly colored outfits.  There is never a missed opportunity to sit at an outdoor cafe, sip on a refreshing drink or mingle.  And it only gets better with summer.

Spring and summer are great for networking because the atmosphere is welcoming and relaxed, people are already mixing and mingling, and having a follow-up lunch takes a lot less convincing when it isn’t 35 degrees outside.  So with happy people around, why miss the chance to strike up a conversation and make new connections?

Here are 5 things you need to do to maximize your spring and summer networking efforts:

Find out where the events are! These may be in your city, in a city you’re visiting or somewhere close enough for you to drive.  You can look these up by areas of interest, by organizations you’re interested in, or you can even be completely spontaneous if you’re really looking to expand your network beyond your usual comfort zone.  Check out your local Chamber of Commerce, sites like Meetup, or even host your own tweet up for your local buddies on Twitter!

Prioritize and create your networking schedule. Realistically, you can’t attend every event.  So evaluate the cost of your time versus the benefits.  If you’re a consultant who is looking obtain new clients in the technology space, your time may be better spent going to a startup networking event versus one targeting volleyball enthusiasts.  Figure out which events are a priority for you, make a list and schedule them in your calendar.

Revamp your business cards. Are the ones you have “so last season?”  Well, it may be time to get a fresh new design, a new logo or have a graphic artist help you redefine your brand.  Think of something upbeat that could be a conversation starter.  Maybe try orange or yellow as others will generally stay away from these colors.  Be bold in your approach so that you stand out from the crowd.

Prepare. Wherever you’re going in life, you want to arrive prepared.  If you’re looking to meet a particular person at an event, what will you speak with them about?  Did you read their latest book and would like some insight?  You may only have a few seconds to make that first impression so make sure you do your research ahead of time. If you’re at a social media networking event, are you familiar with the latest tools and applications so that you can keep up with the conversation?  Preparing doesn’t have to be exhaustive, because at the end of the day, making that connection comes down to being personable and relatable.  But preparing certainly helps you add value to any conversation,  showcases your knowledge, and gives you that competitive edge in a room full of people.

Bring Friends! Yes, this is an option.  If it will help you to see some familiar faces, invite some friends or colleagues who have similar interests.  There is one rule, though.  Whether it is to build your personal network or to identify opportunities for you business, it is important to remember why you’re attending these events.  With that said, make sure you’re making new connections and not spending your entire time conversing with people you can catch up any day of the week.

Do you have any other tactics that you use to maximize your spring and summer networking efforts?  We would love to hear!

Essential Holiday Job Searching Tips

When the holiday season comes around, it brings cheer, fun, smiles, joy and distractions!  So if you’re that job seeker who has been looking around for a while or if you’re new to the search, the temptations for you to veer off track will definitely surface between now and the end of the year.  But fight the urge, because it is important to remain steadfast.  Easier said than done.  But you’ll be grateful when the new year begins, and you have a fresh start due to a small sacrifice you made now.

You can do it.  You have the power to be in control!  You have the power to initiate change!  You have the power to enhance your current situation!

Once you believe that, here are some tips to help you following through:

Remain focused on your goal.  As the weather is cooling down and the festivities are underway, it is easy to get sidetracked and procrastinate.  But don’t let it happen!  Remember that situations and circumstances don’t automatically change your current situation if you aren’t actively involved.  So be proctive and stay after your pursuits!

Keep your spirits up. This isn’t an easy one.  Naturally, the holiday cheer may be foreign to you as you focus on your situation.  But it is all a matter of perspective.  And, the saying is true that someone may very well be in a more dire predicament than you.  So be thankful for what you have.  Life. Family. Health.  And don’t be afraid to reach out to your support system during this time.  The good news is that people are always willing to help!

Make holiday get-togethers work for you. There will be a lot of parties and events hosted by family, friends, neighbors, former coworkers, etc. to attend.  An excellent advantage is that many of these will be free and they will be attended by people from various circles.  So what’s in it for you?  Networking opportunities! Yes, great conversations are to be had over eggnog and cake!  So get out there and work the room!

Most jobs are not posted. This goes for online as well as newspapers and all other places you can think of.  As it turns out, less than 20% of jobs are advertised!  So where are they?!  These days companies are using other means to make the process work for them.  They are relying on the networks of their employees for referrals in addition to other focused networks around the community; ultimately, this means less time and money spent for them to sort through applications.  With that said, you have to be out and about mingling, speaking to colleagues, and tapping into these networks so that you are referred!

Know thyself. Simply put but this goes a long way.  Can you readily explain what makes you better than job applicant number 3487 or 4727?  Know your resume like you know the back of your hand.  Be ready to discuss it from a chronological perspective in addition to a functional.  What are your strengths?  How would hiring you benefit the company?  What quantifiable contributions have you made that are indicative of your potential and capabilities?  Can you perform and deliver?  In addition to solidifying this base, what out-of-the-box approach can you incorporate to communicate your value to your potential employer?  Don’t forget that everyone is trying to tell their story and you don’t want your application to be another one in the pile!  So in the spirit of setting yourself apart, force yourself to have the most convincingly communicated story!

Follow up! Do what you can to remain at the forefront of your potential employer’s memory.  Remember that following up is a nice gesture all around so also reach out to individuals you meet so that you can start building a relationship and add them to your network.  A holiday card adds a nice touch and makes the communication timely and relevant.  Don’t forget to be tactful.  One email is a nice gesture, but six voice mails may be excessive.

Participate in other activities. As time-consuming as your search may be, it is important to do other things also.  For instance, at a time when you may think you’re the one who needs the most help, step outside of your situation and maintain your big picture perspective.   Others may need your help!  Think about volunteering or being a mentor.  Not only can strategic activities help you reduce gaps in your resume, but they may also lead to other opportunities.  You never know who you may encounter or who could be watching from afar and admiring your efforts.  Lastly, these activities may be invigorating and provide positivity just when you need it!

Get organized, go forth and conquer! Armed with this advice, get your game plan together.  Figure out how you want to allocate your time to these different activities.  Brush up your resume and make sure you are familiar with everything on it.  Rehearse your pitch until it feels natural.  Go forth, be aggressive and conquer!  All the while, don’t forget to smile!  After all, it is the holidays!

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