This week at an American Business Women’s Association event in New York City, Selena Soo, a business and publicity strategist, gave an interactive presentation on “Authentic Networking.” While some job seekers and professionals may conjure thoughts of forced interactions and awkward follow-up emails when thinking of networking, Soo provided three secrets to ease the pain of cold networking and to create meaningful contacts more effectively.
Secret No 1.
Getting access to the right opportunities is about knowing the right people.
While this secret may seem somewhat obvious, meeting the “right people” can often be difficult. To identify the right people, a job seeker, entrepreneur or other professional must first identify his or her goals. Concrete goals will allow you to meet an influencer that can provide specific help.
Next, rather than hoping to bump into a person of influence, identify specific individuals and seek them out! Research your targets on social media and their company web pages to find out which industry events they may be attending and attend those events. Use LinkedIn or other social networking sites to find connections that could provide an introduction. Develop a strategy to meet a target influencer and execute it, keeping in mind that you may first have to meet several other people and influencers before connecting with a target influencer.
Secret No 2.
The secret to standing out is being a giver.
Once you’ve connected with the influencer, it is important to be a giver in the relationship rather than just a taker. Adding value to people you admire and influencers will help you to build a relationship with them. An influencer will be more willing to do you a favor or assist you if you’ve first helped her in some way. Adding value to the relationship can be as simple as emailing a link to an article that the influencer might find interesting, just be sure to concisely explain why she will find it helpful. You could also add value by connecting the influencer with others who could advance her business objectives.
Adding value to the influencer may also be a way to form the connection. For example, if you write a blog, read an article that the influencer has written and email the influencer praising the article and seeking permission to blog about her article. This technique adds value to the relationship because the influencer is getting more exposure, and it demonstrates your value as a writer and authority in your field. It may also provide an opportunity to start a dialogue where you can ask for advice or assistance in achieving your goal. The influencer may be more responsive because the relationship is mutually beneficial.
Secret No. 3
People are just people.
Those who are leaders in their field may seem intimidating to those who are just starting out, but just because influencers are successful doesn’t mean that you still can’t add value. Don’t be afraid to reach out! Remember though, influencers have family obligations and are under pressure at work just like you. You may have to take several approaches to build the relationship to achieve your goal. Think of how you would want to be approached if you were in the influencer’s position.
S2 Groupe by Selena Soo
American Business Women’s Association – New York City Chapter
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