“Be curious about the people you meet …You will make a deeper connection with someone by being an active listener.”
Reprinted from Career Insider (careerinsiderbusiness.ca)
Edited by Laura Roberts
It’s a competitive world out there. The best jobs not only go to the best and brightest but to those who have forged the best contacts as well. And the best way to build that web of contacts is to network. It’s a professional activity that can be done naturally, effectively and lead to many opportunities. We recently asked some successful professionals in the world of finance to pass along some tips that will help you land that dream job and climb the corporate ladder once you start your career.
Networking is easier when you’re not on the job market. We all have a built-in network, through our family, friends, classmates, professors or former co-workers. Begin working connections with the people who are the most invested in your success. By sourcing these relationships, you may able to learn about openings as they become available, or even get a referral.
Columbia Sportswear Canada
FIRST IMPRESSIONS COUNT
When introducing yourself, pronounce your full name clearly, and follow through with a great handshake and eye contact. Practice your handshake and introductory greetings with friends.
Loose, damp handshakes, or overly firm, tight handshakes can negatively impact first impressions.
Cumberland Private Wealth Management
Be curious about the people you meet. Ask people about their interests, their opinions on industry trends, and tips on how to be successful in the business world. You will make a deeper connection with someone by being an active listener. Make eye contact. Listen to what’s being said and pay attention to facial expressions and body language. You can often learn more about someone through non-verbal communication than a verbal answer.
PREPARE AN ELEVATOR SPEECH
Write and rehearse a short speech that describes who you are, what you do and what your goals are. Your elevator speech should be no longer than 30 seconds, or the time it takes to share an elevator ride with that person. Make sure your speech sounds conversational, natural and sincere. The hardest part is saying the first word, but most people are nice and responsive, so you have nothing to lose. Remember to have your business card on hand and be sure to ask for theirs.
WORK THE ROOM
Don’t stay in one spot. Walk around and meet as many new people as you can. Start with people you already know, or who are there on their own. Introduce people to each other. As you get more comfortable, ease your way towards the VIPs at the event.
BUILD A GOOD DATABASE
Make an electronic contact card for every contact you meet or every business card you accept. Write notes about the person, your discussion, their interests, and any details worth remembering. Create categories of your contacts list and actively manage them. It’s extremely
important to have quick and simple access to every single person in your network as needs arise at unexpected times. Being able to remember intricate details can make the difference—notes will help you achieve that. Outlook contacts help me organize and centralize my ever increasing list of contacts.
SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE
Share your experience and business knowledge. Be an ambassador of the products and vision that your company sells. Those who you are networking with will see that you have much more to offer as someone who understands the bigger picture, and can drive value in their business. Break free from the pack and sell yourself as an enabler of their business, and translate your skills into layman terms.
Director of Finance
Pitney Bowes Canada
Networking is never just about how you can get ahead in your own career — it’s about meeting new people and the exchange of intelligence. The connections made during networking should be extended to others by introducing individuals to one another, and perpetuating “networking karma”. The confluence of information and ideas can be enriching for everyone, creating a sense of camaraderie.
British Columbia Investment Management Corporation
After meeting someone be sure to follow up with a brief note or a phone call. Plan on connecting with one person from your network each week for lunch. This will build a regular routine of cultivating your network.
Director of Business Development
KCS Fund Strategies
KEEP IN TOUCH
Building your network doesn’t always have to be about meeting new people. Look at your current circle of peers and think about the future. Today’s classmate can often be tomorrow’s colleague or even a client. Keep in touch with these individuals. Just because they aren’t potential employers or clients now doesn’t mean they won’t be in the future. You already have access to what will one day be a valuable network. Protect and nurture that access because, at the end of the day, you’ll always have less to prove to these people as they’ve already seen you in action.
Business News with BITE.
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