I am a natural talker and extrovert. According to the Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory, I am an ENFP (Extrovert, Intuitive, Feeler, Perceiver) commonly known as “The Inspirer.” Some of the main attributes of an ENFP including having social and emotional connections and always searching for a deeper meaning with everything. An ENFP craves freedom and creativity. Interestingly, a lawyer is not a standard career path for an ENFP, yet a writer is. (That explains everything).
I find it easy to strike up conversations with just about anyone – whether it’s about a purse another woman is carrying, a watch a man is wearing, or something that intrigues me about something the person says. Bottom line, I am able to talk to anyone about anything. My boyfriend recently referred to me as a “Networking Ninja” because of my uncanny ability to consistently work the room, make new contacts, and build new relationships. So, I wanted to share with you how to become the next Networking Ninja.
Attend as Many Networking Events as Possible
I am sure you have heard many say, “You need to put yourself out there if you want to meet the right person.” Networking is a lot like dating. In order to find a date, you need to put yourself out there in the limelight. Find out where the local networking events are in your community. A great place to start is your local chamber of commerce and other leadership organizations. Many groups will offer the first event free to all guests. Some events may be as high as $35 or $40 for a lunch and some may be more nominal for happy hours. Either way, if you meet your next business contact or potential boss, suddenly that fee becomes pennies. The best part: if you go to a networking event every night of the week, you may never have to cook dinner again! But don’t forget to dress professional to the networking event. Treat it like a series of mini interviews.
Bring Business Cards and Take Business Cards
Every person you meet is an opportunity. Do yourself a favor and order a set of 250 business cards from Vistaprint or another site for $10. Make sure the card has your name, professional title (i.e. Operations Manager) or industry (i.e. real estate), your cell phone number, email and LinkedIn URL. Before you put your LinkedIn URL on your new personal business card, ensure that you have a customized URL. When you go to the networking events, take a business card from each person you meet and give them your business card. Easy and done right? Not so fast. Following-up is the most important part of networking. ALWAYS follow-up with each person you meet. Get on their contact list. Tell them you hope to see them at the next event (which may open the door to them inviting you to an event you didn’t know about!). Invite them to have lunch or coffee the next week. Being consistent and committed is key.
Connect on LinkedIn
After you’ve met and connect in person, now it’s time to connect on LinkedIn. Develop a rapport with other professionals and connect on a greater level. Join groups they are members of and possibly connect with their connections.
These are easy tips on how to become the next networking ninja. Building relationships are important both professionally and personally.
Want more networking advice? Contact me for additional tips.
Wendi Weiner is an attorney, 3X certified resume writer, published career industry authority and owner of The Writing Guru, a top-ranked resume service firm. Based in Miami, Wendi has served clients in more than 30 industries, 40 states, and multiple countries.