- Network for Quality – At networking events, don’t feel the need to speak with everyone. Aim for 2-3 people and have quality conversation. Be sure to share your business card!
- Become the Host – It might not be your event, but a welcoming attitude goes a long way. Do your best to be helpful, connect new contacts with others that share a mission, or share information that can be helpful to your new contact.
- Networking is Transactional – Look for long-term connectivity. The meeting is just the beginning. To get to the dream job, the networking relationship typically involves a series of transactions, not just an introduction!
- Follow up, follow up, follow up. Follow up with a new contact with a brief and simple message (e-mail, LinkedIn message, etc.). An ideal follow-up message would contain the following elements:
- “Great to meet you!” – Express your enthusiasm over having connected/met.
- Personal detail – “I really enjoyed learning about the new partnership project you’re working on”, or “I hope that you enjoyed your vacation in Florida after the event,” – include an aspect of your initial conversation to convey that you remember details about your new contact will make a good impression and make it much more likely that the new contact will remember details about you as well.
- Stay connected – let them know you’d like to stay in touch. If you’d like to meet with the contact again, suggest how you connect next! For example, “I’d love to meet up again and discuss the grant application you mentioned, might you be free next Tuesday for coffee?”, or, “I’d really like to learn more about your background in engineering and what you do at your company. Might you have 15 minutes for a phone call next week?”
Sometimes your follow-up may not get a response, but at least you’ve made the initial contact. Use your judgment in subsequent efforts to connect, and if you still don’t get a response, don’t take it personally! Some people just aren’t as good at networking as you.
Tips come from Jessica Gershuny, Senior Manager of Strategic Development and NSCS Careers, as written by Catherine Provost, Senior Manager of NSCS Alumni Engagement. You can follow NSCS Alumni on Twitter at @NSCSAlumni, and NSCS Careers by using the Twitter hashtag #NSCSCareers.