There comes a time in every young professional’s life when:
A. They need to learn how to make friends in the real world.
B. Networking becomes an integral part of their career or business.
But here’s the thing – most people think networking and immediately imagine some boring event their boss is making them attend. They imagine obnoxious name tags, bad drinks and a windowless hotel room. They also imagine forced conversations with people who sound like car salesmen.
I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way!
As I write this I am preparing for a crazy week of professional and personal networking events. Some of these were planned while, others were – well – a surprise. Since I know I need to brush up on some of my skills I figured it would be pretty nifty to share some networking tips with you all.
(Note: Most of these events are for women. If any of you local Miami ladies would like to join some awesome groups let me know!)
Event #1: HerFuture.com Miami Meet-Up (AKA Spirit Junkies Invade Starbucks)
I’m finally meeting some positively empowered women in Miami (other than my friends) thanks to HerFuture.com. For those of you who don’t know, HerFuture.com is a networking site that was created by my favorite authors, speakers and spiritual teachers Gabrielle Bernstein. It’s purpose is to help like-minded women find mentors and support for anything from career to family.
Thanks to this lovely site I found the Miami Power Posse and we planned a small get together so we could all meet other like-minded women in this crazy city of 2 million people.
My co-worker is coming with as well so it should be a fun time.
Event #2: LocalLEVO Miami Launch
I’ve been a contributor to The Levo League for quite some time and I AM SO PSYCHED that they are bringing their LocalLEVO meetups to Miami! I’ve got an influencer dinner and a netWORKOUT spinning class. So happy that I’m going to get to meet other Levo Ladies in the Magic City. If you’re in Miami and would like to come to the spinning class send me a message at amanda [at] gradmeetsworld [dot] org.
Event #3: Business Meeting? Planning for a possible future event?
One of my main goals through Grad Meets World is to provide coaching, lectures and events in order to empower a generation of young professionals who will forever be affected by The Great Recession – especially on a local level. I’ve met a fitness trainer/fellow personal development junkie through a mutual friend who has a similar vision and I’m so excited to possibly be collaborating with her. We’re meeting later this week to get to know each other and possibly plan an event together.
Phew! That’s a loaded week right there! What is an ambitious Gen Y gal supposed to do?
Networking Tip #1: Listen more than you speak.
There was a recent article in The Miami Herald about how effective listening can help you land a job or propel your current career further. This is also a concept that has come up a lot during coaching classes in the form of Power Listening.
Simply put, great conversationalists also happen to be great listeners. Stay present, listen fully and then put your two cents in. No one likes a person who can’t shut up about themselves or their business.
Networking Tip #2: Give rather than receive.
If you walk into a networking event with an “I need to get something” mentality you can bet your bottom dollar people are going to sniff you out. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to make some connections for yourself or your business, but there’s a difference between looking out for yourself and genuinely wanting to connect with others.
The next time you find yourself networking try coming from a giving perspective. See how you can help others. Maybe you have a book recommendation or there’s a great yoga studio you know of. By coming from a place of giving rather than getting, you’ll make more meaningful connections, and who knows – maybe those connections will help your business.
Networking Tip #3: Have fun!
Networking events aren’t about forced situations in windowless hotel rooms where you’ve got a “Hello My Name Is…” sticker. In fact, these days networking can be as simple as going out for coffee!
With that being said, only go to events you’ll actually enjoy! Have some fun, make friends! Not everything has to be about business or your career.
Just make sure not to have too much fun…no one likes the office lush.
For more on networking tips check out this awesome video Marie Forleo posted recently – Networking Basics: 8 Tips to Networking Without Being Fake.
Happy Networking everybody!