Of all the education, seminars, reading, and learning that we have done over the years nothing has pushed our careers forward more or taught us more than professional networking. Whether it’s been at conferences or just drinks with our industry peers we have been able to generate new ideas, create collaborations, and even find new clients all through professional networking events.
Professional Networking Sources
The resources for professional networking can range from local chamber of commerce events to online social networking sites such as LinkedIn and even Facebook.
Although Facebook is generally considered more of a social sharing site, because of it’s size and popularity, users have begun to find ways of connecting with other like minded professionals. A simple search of Facebook using the name of your industry as the search term will likely return dozens of ‘Pages’ that will allow you to connect and share with others within your industry.
LinkedIn is a professional networking dream. The site is setup specifically for career/business connections and a great way for an individual to connect with other individuals or companies within their niche.
Another great resource is Meetup.com. Meetup is a site that allows users of common interest to establish groups and meetups to discuss or present ideas to the group. It is through Meetup that we discovered The Internet Marketing Party (the absolute best professional networking event for online marketing and social media professionals here in our ares). These events attract 100′s of extremely successful professionals from around the country to one place for networking, learning, and even a few drinks.
Although social media has made it much easier to connect with individuals both near and far it’s important to take those relationships offline if possible to really establish rapport and credibility in your professional networking endeavors.
Professional Networking Tips
- Volunteer – One of the best ways to meet keynote speakers, organizers, and become well known within a networking group is to volunteer your time and/or services to the group.
- Have a Purpose - Be able to articulate what you are looking for when speaking with people at an event.
- Be Genuine – Build trust and relationships and don’t just go to an event to make your pitch, be willing to listen and give to others.