Networking, huh? The social kind; not the engineering. So… Networking isn’t even a trend anymore, it’s more of a necessity. You might as well hop on board and get your networking skills fired up and running.
[Editor's Note: this article was originally published in December 2019, and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness].
Attending a networking event can be:
A) Daunting and overwhelming ✅
B) An opportunity for your career ✅
C) Both ✅
Answers A and C aren’t an option. That’s why we put together this 5 step guide to kick start your networking skills. Don’t skip networking day. Networking can prompt your career by connecting you to the people who’ll introduce you to your next professional opportunity.
You can plan it yourself
Yes, you can, organize your own tech scene networking event, whether it's an in-person event or a virtual one. LinkedIn has a tool to help you out, called LinkedIn Events. By using it you can create and join professional events, invite your connections, manage your event, have conversations with other attendees, and stay in touch online after the event ends.
And speaking of online events, why don't you join our next KWAN Webinar? Find the list of past and future events, here.
Do your homework
Make a game plan. You might be attending an event with a specific goal: meeting a mentor, meeting a key person for you project or startup, or even collecting the most contacts you can. Stay focused, and research beforehand who is attending and who you’d really be interested in meeting. Remember there is always someone who knows someone - I mean, that’s the whole point of a networking event, right?
Keep track of contacts
You might be swamped once you get home. Let’s not let this happen. Find the method that works best for you. Get a file to organize all the cards you get. Put in the time to register where and when you got each of the contacts. Wanna go digital? Even better! Start compiling a sheet with all your new contacts and keep it up. Or better yet, choose your business card scanner app, and start scanning.
Well, if you’ll be receiving contacts it’s kinda obvious you’ll be giving yours out too. Get your contacts ready. Decide what platforms are more useful to you and have them on hand, may it be your LinkedIn profile, Twitter handle, Instagram or good old email and phone number. Yes, you can have personal cards printed out if you find it easier; some networking venues even ask for these in advance. And if you’re handing out cards, it’s probs a good moment to, idk, be friendly.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t have to be a drag
If you’re “not really into networking events and the whole business card exchange” thing it’s ok. It really is. You’re probably a more natural, empathetic communicator. So just go out there and establish your own connections. Be genuinely interested in other people and less about what you can gain with these social transactions. Yes, this is valid even if you are into hardcore networking.
Kid President said it best 👇