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Mastering the Art of Networking: A Guide for Professionals

Updated: Apr 29

Ever wonder how to approach this awkward networking thing we professionals do?



Does networking fill you with anxiety?


Well here's how to Master the Art of Networking for Professionals



Networking is more than just exchanging business cards 📇 ; it’s about building meaningful relationships that foster growth and opportunities. Whether you're a seasoned professional or new to the industry, understanding different networking types can significantly enhance your approach.


There are four different types of networking: General, Professional, Facilitated and the Board of Directors or Leadership Team type of networking.


General Networking is about embracing various social gatherings and informal events.


Professional Networking is meeting people in a specific affinity group or profession.


Facilitated Networking is a guided meeting of people with an affinity affiliation or without one.


Board of Directors is an agenda driven meeting around professional and personal growth.


A table listing the different types of networking types.

✨ Networking Tips:



👂🏼 Listen More Than You Speak: Good networking is based on mutual interest. Listen actively, and you’ll find ways to connect and help others.



🦄 Be Authentic: Genuine interactions are memorable. Let your conversation reflect your true interests and personality.



🗓️ Follow Up: After meeting someone, follow up with a brief message recalling your conversation. This will not only help you remember who you met but it also reinforces your new connection and sets the stage for future outreaches.



By understanding and adapting to different types of networking, you can reduce your fears and anxieties while maximizing the potential of every interaction.



👉 Start small, stay consistent, and watch your professional network flourish with the following specific networking tips!


Networking Tips

General Networking

Consider embracing various social gatherings and informal events. Approach these with an open mind and the goal of learning something new from each person you meet. Start conversations with a friendly introduction and a genuine interest in what others do.


A networking tip overview graphic
Photo of conversation

1. Create a loose agenda

Having a framework for your event can help you bring certainty into the uncertainties of the evening. That alone can help you be at ease.

2. Have a goal

Goals can be motivating. What about having a goal to find one person who loves the same book as you or who has a book recommendation for you.

3. What would make this event successful for you?

Knowing what makes this event a success for you will make clear your motivation for attending. You can then use this question to pose it to others. It'll make them think and the bonus is you'll already have an answer prepped when they ask you for your answer.

Professional Networking


Professional networking tips

When you attend industry-specific conferences and seminars, prep by familiarizing yourself with recent industry trends and key players. Use these events to widen your professional network and aim for one to two lunch or coffee chats.

1. Create a loose agenda

Having a framework for your event can help you bring certainty into the uncertainties of the evening. That alone can help you be at ease.

2. Have a goal

Goals can be motivating. What about having a goal to find one person who loves the same book as you or who has a book recommendation for you.

3. What do you need from your network?

Knowing what you need from your network gives you a direct request you can make of those you meet, but before you do that, you'll want to make sure you ask them what they need from you and your network. If you can and want to help, make an offer. Then and only then make your request. Chances are they'll ask you what you need, avoiding you even needing to ask the question.


Facilitated Networking


A list of facilitated networking tips

Look for events where there are activities or moderators to help guide interactions. These can be less intimidating and provide a structured way to connect with others. Participate actively and follow the session's flow to make the most of these opportunities.

1. Have a great facilitator

Facilitation is a skill. Don't leave it to chance. Good facilitators are trained and have facilitation techniques and resources that can make your event a socially friendly and fun gathering.

2. Bring your contact information

Have your LinkedIn profile QR code handy, a business card or exchange numbers and follow up quickly after the event lest you forget the connections you made.

3. Free up time in your calendar for your new contacts

It's no fun making new contacts if you have no time available to engage with those new contacts so be sure to block out some time for your new connections and new relationships!


Board of Directors or Leadership Teams


Tips for your board of directors

If you have the opportunity, join a board or a similar small group where strategic discussions occur. These settings are valuable for developing deep professional relationships and can significantly impact your career trajectory.

1. Be prepared for transformation

These people will change you and change can be daunting. The change will manifest over time so don't worry that it'll happen too fast.

2. Be open to lifelong supportive friendships

A personal board of directors will be with you through challenging and celebratory times. You'll forge deep relationships with them so expect them to stick around in your life.

3. Have clear requests and don't be afraid to bring your career challenges.

Everyone struggles and when a board rallies around you they are there to support you. You are not taking up their valuable time. Your worries and struggles can be the very thing that helps someone else on the board who is facing the EXACT SAME STRUGGLE. The learning that happens from these sharing events touches EVERYONE on your Board. Everyone walks away with ways to approach this exact same struggle at present or in the future.


There you have it. My tips for navigating networking. What are your tips and words of wisdom?


About me


I’m Lizette Warner, author of this post and author of Power, Poise, and Presence. I share wisdom from my work in rescuing Female Founders and Coaches from the metaphorical ledge. I stand next to them as we navigate uncertainty, funding, investors and make their heart centered business and mission successful.

If you want more from me, I’ve got a book, Power, Poise, and Presence, snatch a copy for yourself. Check out what it’s like to work with me or if you are looking for a coach, I am happy to connect you with one.


All my best,

Lizette


PS. Download my checklist for coaches and business owners and uncover the #1 way to your success.


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