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Steal-Worthy Networking Ideas

Originally published by Lindsey Pollak

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

Most of us have heard this career advice, but it is true that who you know can help propel your career. Whether it’s someone you meet at an industry event, an informational interview or a new friend at the juice bar, being a savvy networker can pay dividends for your career. Keep reading for great advice on networking for millennials – or professionals at any stage of their career.

5 Steps for Networking with Powerful People (It’s Easier Than You Think) – “Your meeting isn’t a stage for you to recite your resume and tell this influencer how outstanding you are. She’ll be more impressed if you actively listen. Show her you’re present and engaged and that you’re following along with what she’s saying. Ask questions—after all, you want her opinion. Also, consider how you can help the person you’re meeting with. For example, I once met with a federal district court judge in her 70s who had broken through enough glass ceilings for a hundred women. But while her intellectual acumen was nothing short of spectacular, keeping up with modern technology was not her forté (no one can be a master of everything). We were discussing her side project, and I realized what she needed was an intern. Blogging? Photoshop? This was something best handled by a Millennial! Voilá, something quick and easy for me to help her with. And just like that, we had a reason to stay in touch and grow our friendship.”

Networking is Over. Welcome Sweatworking? – Fast Company. “Kanesha Baynard, a Bay Area transition coach who works with job seekers and others, says sweatworking is also a great strategy for job seekers trying to build their network in a new city. She suggests proposing an activity that you know the other person enjoys (maybe a mutual contact tells you Bob loves to cycle, or his LinkedIn profile tips you off), not necessarily one that you’re great at. ‘If you have been participating in a certain activity for a while, you may want to think about trying a new or neutral activity, so the person you invite to sweatwork does not feel intimidated,’ she explains. In addition to scheduling one-on-one or small sweatworking sessions, a growing number of gyms, fitness studios, and other companies offer more structured sweatworking events so that fitness-conscious entrepreneurs or young professionals can meet and mingle.”

How to Talk to Anyone at a Networking Event – Business Insider. “[Marketing consultant Jon] Levy has a topic ready to fill in moments of uncomfortable silence that arise between people who don’t know much about one another. ‘I always have a story of something I’ve been doing recently or a book that I’ve been reading,’ he says….You should strive to be memorable when you’re meeting new people, and the best way to do so is through good storytelling. When you tell a story, make sure it has a clear point and a punch line, whether a takeaway or a joke. Most people just aren’t interesting in the way they communicate, Levy says. He thinks Americans in particular apply their efficient approach at work to how they meet people, talking in boring, direct ways about themselves. A good way to avoid the so-called ‘interview’ approach is to stop using talking about your job as a crutch.”

Networking for Millennials: How to Make It Useful – FlexJobs. “While fellow millennials and people in your industry are bound to be a significant part of your network, pushing beyond your comfort zone can have a huge payoff. ‘Make and build contacts with people who aren’t just like you—different backgrounds, different interests, different ages,” says Patti DeNucci, author of The Intentional Networker: Attracting Powerful Relationships, Referrals & Results in Business. ‘Generational intelligence and network diversity are key to gaining rich and varied perspectives and in building a truly strong network. Try being with people who are 5, 10, 15, or even 20 years ahead on the career path. Talk to and get to know people doing a wide range of jobs and having a wide range of experiences. It’s how you know where you want to be.’”


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