Networking is not just a way to trade information but also a way to create long-term relationships with mutual benefits. It is one of the most important skills to develop in furthering your career, and enhancing your professional life. According to Hubspot, 85% of the jobs are filled through networking - not by sifting through job boards or cold-emailing resumes - and 65% of entry-level professionals value face-to-face networking more than online. And yet, one in four professionals don’t participate in networking at all. But you can’t just walk into a room and blindly hand out business cards - it’s important to have an objective in mind when networking.
For less experienced professionals, networking is a great way to expand industry knowledge, find strategic partnerships, and most importantly, make powerful connections.
One of the most valuable ways to enhance your industry knowledge, education and network is to attend conferences in your industry. Preparation is essential to get the most benefit from conferences. Before booking a trip or buying your ticket, ask yourself what you want to get out of the conference. Do some research before going to the event, find out what industry leaders are talking about to help you establish authentic connections with people.
Nervous about going to your first conference? Here are some vital tips to keep in mind:
- It’s okay not to know everything and people love sharing what they know - Turn it into an opportunity to learn and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
- Keeping the conversations short and sweet - There are plenty of people to talk to.
- If you can, reach out to people attending the conference a couple weeks beforehand. Make plans to meet them or schedule some time to catch up.
- Nail down your elevator pitch - you’ll be sharing it a lot.
- Have a business card (even a simple one works).
- When meeting someone new, jot down notes of the conversation on their card, so you can make sure you remember what you talked about and how you should follow up.
- After an event, make sure you follow-up within the first 48 hours.
You don’t have to leave town to get value out of networking - Groundswell hosts events each month where you can expand your professional network and learn new skills. Utilize this and other great resources in your community to plug into your industry and stay in the know.
Also give us a follow on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn to get regular updates about our events, and reach out to us. Everyone at Groundswell wants to see you succeed, complete your goals and mission and most of all Happy Networking!