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In case you missed it, the latest DLE Culture Chat created a buzz with a hit list of networking chart toppers. Guest speaker and Fortune 500 marketing consultant Mike Smith revealed actionable strategies for increasing the quantity and quality of connections that can help your career grow.
Here is a recap of Mike’s top five networking practices:
- Map your network. Use the resources you already have. Turn your current connections into a system and build a spreadsheet. The people who you interact with will likely help you when you need it.
- Create a two-way street. Networking can’t be one-sided. Keep in contact with people by expressing gratitude and appreciation. Don’t expect something in return. Instead, interact with others to create a connection that could have future benefits.
- Keep it easy and risk-free. Make requests simple and to the point. You should not depend on your connections when asking for help. And make sure they know you are not depending on them.
- Aim for the silver medalists. Reach for contacts who are attainable. It will be difficult to create a real connection and relationship with individuals who are at the top of their field. Instead, find people who are still great connections but with whom you can actually foster a relationship.
- Make it a habit. If you want to create real connections with people, make reaching out something you do over and over again. Do not establish a relationship and then fail to check up on them for years. People want to help those they have a relationship with and know are reliable.
As for what not to do. Mike’s top three mistakes to avoid when networking were eye-opening and beneficial.
- Fluffy asks. When asking for help you must be direct, to the point and clear about what you want. Avoid phrases like “pick your brain” and “if you know anyone hiring.” These phrases make you lazy. Mike Smith says, “The more intentional you can be, the better.”
- Keep expectations real. The person you are asking for help from is not responsible for satisfying your needs and expectations—make sure they know this.
- Be aware of the single opt-in. When introducing someone, confirm that both parties are interested in the connection. It would be wrong to shift a burden someone put on you onto someone else.