As you all know, the past couple of months have been filled with many new experiences, opportunities, and challenges for me. Many of these new experiences have caused me to really step out of my comfort zone and work on a major skill that I have always shied away from, NETWORKING. Like most people, the thought of walking into a room with one hundred other people to “pitch” myself terrifies me. I understand the benefits and I actually like meeting new people but I despise networking events. However, because of what I would like to do with my life it is a necessary evil, and one that I think every professional should work on.
This past month I challenged myself to attend two networking events per month, or meet-up with a new person twice. I am happy to announce that only 18 days into August I have completed this challenge. *yay bree!* I have to say that accomplishing this goal was easier once I figured out what actually works for me. For instance, I like networking events that include happy hour, and are in cool restaurants or venues. I also prefer the smaller crowds or one on one networking opportunities. I am not opposed to finding someone on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc and “sliding in their DMs”. (I am actually 3/3 in this, and it’s how I got the coolest roommate ever).
On top of messaging potential connections through social media, I have also found some cool tools that have helped me excel at networking events. The Meetup App is a great one that I have known about for a while now and just recently started back using. It’s an app where you can connect with people in your city for networking events or even just to hang out with people who have similar interests. You get all of the information for the events directly from the app and then you just attend. It’s a great way to find events in your area that you may not have even heard of normally.
Another great tool that I just learned about through my work with Brand Fiend is the SwitchIt App. It’s a digital business card app that allows you to create and store multiple business cards right from your phone, no more carrying around 20 business cards in your car or wallet. Anytime you’re at an event or even the gas station and you run into someone, you can send your business card right from your phone to theirs. Check out the SwitchIt video business card featuring our Communications Specialist, Aqweela Green below:
As the professional landscape changes so will the way business is done. Think about apps like LinkedIn and Indeed.com and how they’ve even changed the way we apply for jobs. As things continue to become more digital it becomes more imperative that you create a personal connection and develop face-to-face relationships so that you can be remembered. It’s all too easy to become lost in the internet, but if you put yourself out there and create a lasting impression you never know how it can propel your career or business. This is especially true for entrepreneurs and non-profit business owners. A large part of your business will come from your connections, so take a shot and get out there! You can even start with my goal of just two events or meet-ups per month and go from there.