Most people drop industry memberships as soon as they lose their job, saying it costs too much. Actually, it costs even more when you lose your access to the key movers and shakers in your industry. The hidden job market comes from those connections. So see it as an investment, not a cost.
Don’t be a One-Hit Networking Wonder
By Dawn Rasmussen
You know this person … or it might even be you.
You know the one … where you meet them at an industry event, find that you have a nice connection, and offer to connect via LinkedIn as a way to “follow up.”
What happens next is the ritual trading of the business cards, and both of you walk away, ideas swimming in your heads about how you might collaborate.
Then, as soon as you get back to the office, you search LinkedIn.
Aha! There they are… and you send a request to connect.
Then you stash the business card in your desk or near your monitor, and move on with your day.
In all likelihood, in two weeks’ time, you’ll hardly remember the person, let alone follow up with them.
If you are a networking pro, you know that the most meaningful connections aren’t just a “Connect with me on LinkedIn” request.
It is a long-term relationship that includes in-person and virtual conversations.
And yes, this takes more effort than just “connecting.”
The best networkers are the ones who keep the conversation going… and not just because they want something out of it.
It’s also about what you can give the other person.
Yes. You read that right.
The real secret to networking is GIVING, rather than taking.
One-hit wonders have usually one interaction, maybe two, then the conversation ends.
The lost opportunity is when you hit “send” for the connection request.
A huge loss happens when you don’t take a moment to personalize that request, and create a thread that can continue to grow.
How does one exactly do that? Here are some ideas:
- Ask a question.
- Offer something.
- Find ways to re-engage.
- Schedule a meeting to expand upon your initial conversation.
- Share useful information or links.
- Introduce them to someone who might be helpful to their efforts.
- Invite them to another event and meet them there.
There is an endless list of things you can do to keep the conversation going.
The heart of a good relationship is when two people are interested in finding ways to work together.
Given the maxim that people like to do business with who they know, the question you need to be asking yourself to avoid becoming a one-hit networking wonder is this:
“What can I do to advance this connection into a meaningful relationship?”
“How can I get to know this person better and vice versa?”
Taking the reins of this connection can have immediate, or even future payoff, so don’t miss the opportunity.
Otherwise, you miss out by becoming a one-hit networking wonder, easily forgotten.