How to become a networking expert: seven steps to success

How to become a networking expert: seven steps to success

Attending a trade fair, a networking event or corporate reception: you either love it or you hate it. Yet networking is incredibly important if you want to succeed in your career. Spot has put together seven useful tips to help both novice and seasoned networkers.

Preparation is key
Before you turn up at a business meeting or a networking event, make sure you are well prepared. Check who’s coming and think about who you’d like to talk to. It also helps to think of some personal questions to ask, so you can tune in to people on the spot and you won’t have to wander around aimlessly. 

LinkedIn is your lifeline  
Have you met someone you’d like to add to your network? Follow them on LinkedIn! When you send out your invitation to connect, be sure to add a personal message. In any case, LinkedIn is a terrific way to check out who’s who within your field of work. If you come across an interesting profile, make a connection and send the person a message telling them who you are and why you are following them. 

Of course, it’s very important that your own profile is up to date. In this blog photographer Mark Kuipers shares the secret of taking a good LinkedIn profile picture. 

Connect over coffee
If you find large groups intimidating, it might be best to keep it small: invite a former colleague or an acquaintance from within your industry for a cup of coffee. You can do this at the office or meet up more casually in a café if you like. That way, you can chat about your work in a more relaxed setting. For introverts who break into a cold sweat at the thought of a big networking event, this is a good alternative. 

Ready, set, pitch! 
You’ve probably heard the term ‘elevator pitch’. It’s a lightning-quick presentation in which you tell someone who you are, what you do and – most importantly – what your added value is. Learn this by heart and you are ready to promote yourself anytime, anywhere. It’s especially useful if you find yourself at a meeting with all kinds of interesting people. 

Be selective
Some people are better suited to networking at a trade fair, while others come to life during an informal chat at a business reception. Consider carefully whether an event suits you before you accept an invitation. 

Keep your phone in your pocket 
Robert Walters Consultancy Group shared this tip with us: imagine you are at a drinks reception, event or business meeting and you feel uncomfortable. Whatever you do, don’t reach for your phone. Sure, it’s a safe and easy way to isolate yourself for a bit, but it also sends the message that you don’t feel like socialising. 

The world is your network 
The great thing about networking is that you can do it whenever you want and wherever you are. You don’t have to wait until the next event presents itself; everywhere from your sports club to a birthday party can provide opportunities to meet interesting people. 
Young Schiphol regularly organises fun activities for everyone working at the airport. A great way to network and to meet interesting people. Do you want to learn more? Spot interviewed board member Erik Felëus. 

Evelien Janson

Community Manager
SPOT Schiphol
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