Three ways to expand your network and develop a net-connecting strategy when attending events.
Net- Connecting is about Networking & Making Meaningful Connections. This past weekend I attended my sorority's national convention with over 7,000 powerhouse women. There were a variety of workshops, luncheons, social hours, shopping, and passing conversations. Prior to my research and the work I do around empowering women and creating networks, I would have invested a lot of money in this experience and walked away with no new connections that were impactful to my career and personal goals. Now that I'm an expert networker, I made four power house connections, and this is how I did it.
#1 Collect Contact Information
This is normally done with physical or electronic business cards. Now that many business women have landing pages or websites, this is many times their place of reference. Don't take it personal if they don't just give you their cell numbers. Whatever contact information is provided. Start There!
#2 Find The Person on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the number one platform used for networking and is underutilized by women. We are great at socializing, but not so great at networking. No worries though, I'm on an assignment to help women with the proper tools and strategies to master networking so we can continue to grow and create seats at the table. Connect with people on LinkedIn while you are still at the event if possible! Let them know you have sent them a LinkedIn request. This is a good way to find out if they are active on this network and if so, its a good way to communicate with them later.
Send a personalized note thanking them for accepting your request and reminding the contact of where you met.
Provide your best contact and email
This is also a great time to request a phone call to chat or set up a time to meet over coffee.
#3 Know How To "Work The Room"
When you see me coming, you know I am working the room! My mission is not just to network but to make connections. That means, I show a genuine interest in the people in the room, their goals, and how I can possibly help them. I walk into the the room with positive energy. My first question is , what brought you here today and how are you enjoying ....... Pre- think of your conversation starters that can eventually lead to a potential connection.
Did you grow up hearing the phrase that girls should be seen and not heard? We are living in a different time now that girls have to be seen and heard . There is power in her voice, especially if she wants to be successful. Part of building your personal brand involves visibility of yourself and what you do, being SEEN & HEARD. Network like you are your brand at all times. People need consistency and a level of passion they can relate to.
Learn More About How To Expand Your Network and purchase The Little Red Networking Book and Companion Planner Today!
Eleshia V. Cash
Expert Networker & Collaborator
CEO & Founder of The National Women's Empowerment Ministry