networking

5 Networking Tips for Introverts

April 12, 2016

networkingIn our digital age, the job application process feels anonymous. You submit your resume and cover letter online andit disappears into what seems like a black hole. Does it ever reach anyone? Does anyone even read the letter you’ve worked so hard on? You may never know. This makes it more important than ever to know someone in your field or at the company you’re applying to.

Networking is essential to building professional relationships. It can help you learn about your desired industry, land your dream job or make a career change. Creating and maintaining a strong network can bring you from an invisible online applicant to a job seeker who was personally recommended for a job, internship or informational interview.

Not everyone feels comfortable stepping into a room full of strangers. The pressure to make connections can cause people to over-think and over-stress about networking. It’s tough to make a good impression when you’re sweating over how to keep the conversation going. Whether you’re an introvert or someone who just gets nervous networking, here are a few tips to make it easier:

1) Prepare Beforehand: Most people will prepare for a test, a meeting or an interview, so why not prepare for networking? If you’re not outgoing or have trouble coming up with conversation starters, plan out what you want to say or ask others ahead of time. It’s also helpful to develop a short elevator pitch about yourself, so you’re ready when you hear the inevitable “what do you do?” question at a networking event. When in doubt, just ask the other person about themselves.

2) Bring a Friend: You don’t have to go it alone! Enlist a friend to attend a networking event with you. Even if they aren’t in the same industry as you, it can be good practice and talking to strangers might make you feel less awkward with a friend by your side. Plus, the two of you can find the other straggler to strike up a conversation. Approaching strangers is a lot easier in a pair.

3) Focus on Quality over Quantity: Many introverts can find themselves over-stimulated and downright exhausted after talking with a lot of people at once. If you feel the same way, focus on only a few connections instead of trying to introduce yourself to everyone in the room. Go up to someone who looks shy or reserved and strike up a long conversation. They’ll appreciate having someone to talk to, and you’ll make a strong connection. Give yourself a goal of having three or four significant conversations before you leave the event.

4) Ask Interesting Questions: A cut-and -dry, overused question like “where do you work?” can result in a pretty short reply. Most people at a networking event have just left work, and they may not want to keep talking about their jobs. Try more personal questions, like “what do you do for fun?” Odds are, you’ll find a hobby in common. You may think you have to talk about work to make a professional connection, but getting to know someone personally can be just as effective.

5) Learn Your Strengths: Whether in meetings or in networking sessions, the person who talks the most and the loudest can at first glance seem the most valued. That’s not always the case. Susan Cain’s book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Won’t Stop Talking and her TED Talk will teach you more about what qualities make someone an introvert, and how valuable those qualities are to a company. They will make you proud to call yourself an introvert.

Hopefully these tips will stop you from feeling overly anxious, not knowing what to say, or panicking if no one talks to you at first. Remember, everyone there has the same networking goals as you: to talk to and connect with others.

Posted by: 
Allie Carmichael

Networking with LinkedIn

November 17, 2014

LinkedIn NYWICIMore than 300 million members use LinkedIn. Since its launch in May 2003, LinkedIn has withstood the vast changes in technology and remains the leading social network for business networking.

During NYWICI’s recent Twitter chat Networking with LinkedIn, I had the opportunity to speak with Hannah Green Goldberg, head of LinkedIn’s national Marketing Solutions team and NYWICI's VP-Membership. According to Hannah, “the value to professionals, our members, comes in 3 pillars: Identity, Networking and Knowledge.” 

  • Identity:  Help users create their professional profile of record
  • Networking: Connect all global professionals — which opens up opportunities
  • Knowledge: Deliver relevant knowledge and insights to members and help them showcase knowledge to their networks

Hannah Green GoldbergMany of LinkedIn’s features provide users with an increased opportunity to connect and endorse colleagues, and much more. According to Hannah, key features for members include their profile, participating in conversation in groups, following influencers and company pages. A great example is Citi’s Connect Group for Professional Women on LinkedIn and NYWICI’s own LinkedIn Group. Students are LinkedIn’s fastest growing audience. Features such as Decision Boards, University Outcome Rankings and LinkedIn Career Pages are examples of how the platform helps students to lay the foundation and jump start their careers.

There are many benefits of using LinkedIn, stresses Hannah. However, “don’t expect opportunities to fall in your lap. You must define what you want, how to get there and who can help.” Users can leverage LinkedIn to establish and grow their personal brand. “You can position yourself as a thought-leader or you can join groups to learn from other experts.” For best practices pertaining to job search, Hannah recommends the same 3 pillars: Identity, Networking and Knowledge.

  • Identity: Create and maintain a professional profile. Let the built-in tools guide you how to strengthen your profile.
  • Networks: Connect with your current and past colleagues; tap into and connect with your 1st/2nd/3rd degree connections.
  • Knowledge: Define companies you are interested in; go to their LinkedIn company page to view jobs and find people you know work there.

 

For further reading:

NYWICI Aloud blog post Elevate Your Job Search on LinkedIn

Posted by: 
Rodeena Stephens

The Value of Networking

October 2, 2013

women networkingThink back to the most recent cocktail party or other social gathering you attended. Did you notice some guests were comfortably speaking with other people, making their way effortlessly around the room? Recall the handshakes, smiles, polite laughter and often-humorless jokes shared by guests in the room. In that same room, one would also find individuals, alone at a table, or hovering around the hors d’ oeuvres seemingly nervous, yet trying to fit in. This scenario is my attempt at describing a typical networking event.

For some, networking can be intimidating, while others embrace it as a part of career growth and development. But what is it about networking that many find so challenging?

During a recent NYWICI Twitter chat, I had the wonderful opportunity to welcome Nancy Fox, founder and president of The Business Fox and author of Networking Like a Fox, as our co-host to discuss the topic “The Value of Networking.” Nancy shared great insight and useful tips on networking and how to network effectively.  According to Nancy, “the biggest error employed people make is slowing down or completely eliminating networking.” She suggests that cultivating our top circle of influence should always be a priority. In other words, people should always “dig their well before they’re thirsty.”  Below are some tips that Nancy shared during our Twitter chat:

  • Networking is a strategy; targeted networking is key to meeting and connecting with ideal people:
  • It is more advantageous to network up, rather than down or laterally. Don’t network only with women you know – be willing to “stretch and aim higher”.
  • A useful goal to help you find the right networking events is to identify your “target audience and where are they congregating?” Which groups do they belong to, what boards do they sit on, what charities are they involved in and what sports do they play?
  • “If I want to meet VPs of sales, I look for sales conference and seminars.”
  • Don’t network where you feel comfortable, network where your ideal audience is hanging out.

When asked to share some key smart strategies for networking like a pro, Nancy shared the following tips:

  • Be proactive.
  • Prepare for the event.
  • Do some research on those attending the event.
  • Be prepared with great insightful questions.
  • Don’t spend the entire time speaking with one person – maximum 10 minutes.
  • Offer to take the conversation offline at a one-on-one lunch or breakfast.
  • Graciously ask for someone’s card; avoid giving your card first.
  • Join a conversation where there are three or more people. Two people conversing might be a private conversation.

Always remember, at networking events, people are there to network. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to people, and engage in conversation. Know your worth, and be confident with the knowledge that you can add value to others.

There is a value to networking that should not stop once you land that dream job.  Networking is a “fun game but it requires strategy.” For more great networking tips, visit Nancy’s website, www.thebusinessfox.com

Read transcripts of previous Twitter chats on the topic, The Value of Networking and Networking to Success.

Posted by: 
Rodeena Stephens
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The 24-Hour Networking Cycle

November 19, 2012

Round-the-clock networking opportunities abound in New York City. You can head out early to a Digital Salon or stay up late for Midnight Brunch. You’re sure to gain new wisdom, connect with peers and supplement those power lunches and after work cocktail meet-ups.  

Daylle Deanna Schwartz facilitates NYWICI’s members-only Digital Salons. These breakfast-time gatherings “give people concrete directions for using a specific digital tool/platform for their own business. This is done through a how-to presentation along with live demonstrations and a Q&A.“
 
Above and beyond digital education, the salons are a chance to network. Daylle points out that “a wide variety of people attend the salons, so there’s a wonderful opportunity to meet members you might not otherwise connect with. The topics make a common ground between people.”
Want to Network Your Way To Your Next Job?  Join Master Networker and Digital Doyenne Lori Greene as she details the steps to your next great professional adventure at December’s members-only salon. 

On the other side of the clock, Emily Cavalier created Midnight Brunch, late–night dinner party events that “are part luxury and part education.” She explains, “We connect culturally literate residents and adventurous eaters to help them learn about new cultures, food and craft cocktails in a fun and elegant environment.”
 
Much like with NYWICI Digital Salons, networking is “woven into the [Midnight Brunch] format.” In our email interview, Emily told me that her “audience is made up of entrepreneurs, trendsetters in the arts, media and technology as well as lawyers and doctors with a love of food and drink.... You can't experience amazing boozy cocktails and a four- or five-course meal without relaxing at least a little and opening up to the interesting guests you've experiencing this with.”
 
When you head out to a NYWICI Digital Salon or similar breakfast event, Daylle suggests, “You can bring a laptop. There’s usually wireless service if you want to follow along on your own pages. There’s a whole different vibe about meeting people and sharing a cup of coffee first thing in the morning. And afterwards people tend to discuss what they learned.”
 
And Emily advises that Midnight Brunch attendees “be adventurous and open-minded, and willing to at least taste and experience something new and 'weird' to you. What I'd recommend against doing is going with a big group of people and then only hanging out with that clique….The whole purpose of this format is to get you in front of new people you might not have met otherwise.”
 
Curiously, Daylle’s an evening person and Emily thrives in the midday—this just highlights the value of the 24-hour networking cycle. Anytime can be the best time to meet new people, learn new things, and tell people about your awesome talents too!
 
Posted by: 
Deanna Utroske
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Professional Integration

October 27, 2012

“Being actively involved and inclusive with your colleagues and clients…Being present and collaborative.”

That’s how Kristen Kurtz, Account Supervisor at Kellen Communications, describes Professional Integration—her neatly coined term for the converse of Professional Isolation.
 
Kristen “began working from home two days a week, then after a move and a second child, working from home every day, with day trips into the office a few times a month.” 
 
Taking a lesson from Kristen’s experience and also from Rayna Katz, a freelance writer and editor, I’d say that professional integration—successful, supportive partnerships—come down to quantity, quality and style of communication.
 
A quick Google search for professional isolation turns up this definition: “professional isolation is not about distance, it is about lack of professional networks and contact.” 
 
“It can happen anywhere, whether you telecommute or work in the office. Professional isolation is when you do not engage or are not engaged by your colleagues, and work in a non-collaborative way, essentially operating in a silo. In turn, it can become a very stressful way to work,” explains Kristen. 
 
Rayna Katz used to work from home for a San Francisco-based magazine (their production team was in Iowa). In that role she “felt acutely aware of the lack of connection…[and] being totally on my own added to my stress.”
 
Rayna emphasized that professional isolation can happen in well-staffed conventional offices too. “With everyone on their computers tucked away in cubicles or offices, [one office where she worked] was sometimes as quiet as a library…The ability to see and check-in with colleagues from time to time is much better.”
 
Kristen and Rayna shared some best practices to avert and mitigate professional isolation all the while fostering professional integration:
 
  • Have face time with your colleagues and clients.
  • If telecommuting, pick up the phone instead of email. 
  • If you’re in the office, visit your colleague and have the discussion instead of email.
  • Arrange lunches and coffee meetings to connect outside of the office.
  • Be responsive and offer feedback.
  • Engage technology, like Skype or Google Chat, for a more authentic exchange.
  • Hold standing update meetings each week.
  • Collaborate between teams and groups and keep an open door policy.
  • Take breaks and go get some fresh air.
Posted by: 
Deanna Utroske

Race to Success: Mars vs. Venus

August 12, 2011

 

Networking is something we all do to grow our businesses, find new career paths, seek out advice and establish ourselves. However, the ability and success at networking may have a lot to do with gender. Across the board, men and women do things differently - from organizational skills, expressing themselves to communicating and networking with others.
 
A recent study from LinkedIn shows that overall men are savvier online networkers than women in the U.S. The study developed a rating system in which it measured the ratio of connections that men have versus women, and the ratio of male members on LinkedIn to female members. "Men are more savvy networkers globally, but the data shows that men and women exhibit differences in their online professional networking behaviors."
 
LinkedIn's study shows that men dominate online networking. However, truly defining who is more successful at networking is much more subjective than objective. The definition of networking differs among genders, women look to make personal connections with others while men remain focused strictly on the business aspect of the conversation. The same can be said for on the job mentoring.
 
Catalyst conducted research published in Harvard Business Review regarding the ways in which women and men participate in career mentoring programs and how their participation leverages their career success. The researchers discovered that mentoring varies widely for genders and has much different results regarding career advancement. Sponsorship, an intensive type of mentoring in which mentors may persuade executives to consider their mentees for promotion along with training and modeling for mentees is less common among women. Without sponsorship, women not only are less likely than men to be appointed to top roles but may also be more reluctant to go for them - meaning that these intense sponsorships truly play a role in a person's promotion potential.
 
Instead, women build personal relationships in which they discover more about themselves, their mannerisms and approaches, and what they need to change in order to move up. While men develop strategic plans and actions to get their mentees to high positions - a much more goal focused approached than women receive.
 
While men have a stronger support and drive from their mentors they lack the personal connection. Women have the personal connection to their mentor or through networking, however the end result may have less of a successful impact on their career as they are less likely to have the support for higher positions and ultimately may be less likely to apply for these positions.
 
Is career success based on quantity or quality? Would you prefer deep personal connections to others that may result in career stepping stones or is your goal to gain promotion and success regardless of the type of connection? In what other ways do you see gender impacting the way women succeed in climbing the corporate ladder OR hinder them? 


Successful networking is really about building relationships with the right people at the right time.  Since we cannot see into the future, it's hard to foresee who might be invaluable to you in the future, so networking is really about being open in all situations.  A healthy dose of curiosity about people really helps.  Engaging colleagues, peers, managers, and executives in dialogue about what interests them, who they are, how they got to their station in life and career, are easy ways to open the door to important alliances.  Networking is not about making friends, per se, but it IS about being friendly, approachable, and outgoing.  Equal doses of professionalism and personal connection is key.  Decision-makers hire, appoint, and promote people with which they are comfortable.  That is almost always dependent on a good rapport (i.e. relationship) with the worker.  Men tend to be better networkers because it is not personal to them.  They don't have to "like" the person to have a connection.  Men also tend to recognize strategic alliances.  They know when to build a relationship with a person that can give them the access or influence that they need.  Often women allow personal style and idiosyncrasies muddy the networking waters.  Be open, assertive, likeable, and professional.  Leave bias, insecurities, and shyness at home.  Go to office goodbye parties, happy hours, company team sports, company outings, holiday parties, conferences, awards events.  And by all means, don't spend the whole day at your desk.  Circulate!  Sometimes that's the best networking of all.  Out of sight is out of mind.  Often, being seen is the first step to being successful.
Debbye Turner Bell, DVM
Correspondent
The Early Show

 

Networking is a key strategy to success.  As a female business owner and founder of Danielides Communications, Inc, I have never been adverse to sharing opportunities and information with colleagues that are willing to work together for the greater cause, be it new business or information that will empower.  I believe that networking styles vary amongst gender and personality type.  Females are more flexible in their style of networking and are more comfortable in their approach to "working the room" or building relationships. Amongst my peers, female colleagues are devoting countess time and energy to mentoring and supporting young professionals as they climb the ladder. NYWICI rules by example and that's a big reason why we established our Foundation. Year after year, we teach our scholarships students how to network and mentor them as they launch a positive career path. "Girls rule" on this issue!
Joannie C. Danielides
Founder and President
Danielides Communications, Inc.
Former President - NYWICI and NYWICI Foundation

 

I believe both quantity and quality are crucial to networking.  It is best to have a large network of smaller, simpler connections to draw from when looking to forge stronger relationships based on the time in your life and career, your location, and your ambitions.  It is not a matter of preference between the two -- both have their benefits and drawbacks.  Dedicating yourself to a strong networking relationship is a serious commitment, so it is prudent to not overcommit yourself to others and risk letting them down.  For women in particular, I think there is a bigger risk of things getting too personal for their own good.  We all always want to make friends, but friendship is definitely different from a strictly networking relationship.  While our desire for deep connections certainly helps us create them, we shouldn't get wrapped up in a select few at the cost of casting our nets wider.
Marie Dugo
NBC East Coast Page Program
NYWICI Foundation Board Member


Did you miss last night's Twitter chat with Debbye Turner Bell on this topic? Read through the transcript here. Join us at our next twitter chat on Tuesday, August 23, 8:00-9:00pm, follow @nywici and use #nywicichat in your tweets!

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