1. Networking starts with your current contacts. It doesn’t necessarily mean actively pursuing making new relationships. Cultivate those that have already and invest in those relationships first.
2. Even when you think you don’t need to network, you do. You never know when you need someone to help connect you (not always professionally). Its improper to ask someone for help when you’ve not spoken to him/her in ages.
3. Think of networking as a puzzle you’re repiecing together. What need does someone else have and how can you fill it.
4. Don’t throw your cards around. Shoving it down people’s throat is a turn off and a polite way to engage a new contact. Offer it after having a conversation and asking for the other person first.
5. Cyclic relationship: the power of networking is the people your contacts know, not always your contact directly.
6. Set expectations let people know how and when you’ll contact them (and then do it).
7. Ask deep questions rather than “what do you do”. When possible, begin conversations with personal questions, not necessary their profession. Get to know them and attempt to find commonalities. They’ll remember this.
8. Create reconnect files. It could be monthly rotation, etc. Reach out when you have an interesting article to share, want to see how they are doing, etc.
9. Remember birthdays (and small stuff). If she has a proposal to submit and you know, remember and contact her to wish her luck. If it would be important to you, it’s likely important to her.
10. Ask them what they need. Then try to provide it by connecting them.
11. Give first, without expecting in return. Those who give get, but don’t do so with immediate expectation.
12. Utilize linked in
13. Remember at a networking event, everyone is there to meet new people. Everyone has apprehension so take the initiative.
14. One minute sales sentence. Can you describe yourself or your business in one sentence that carries value.
15. Listen more than you talk.
16. Be in the know of new news.
17. Be positive.
18. Set goals.
19. Give a firm hand shake.
20. It helps to remember your name if your name tag is on the right.
21. Join a group with an odd number because its easer to break into conversation.
22. Be polite, get their names right.
23. Repeat a name three times during conversation.
24. Remember to thank the host.
25. In conclusion, no one is immune to Networking, Embrace it, find fun in it and it will serve you well.
Mrs. Angela Ajala
Mrs. Angela Ajala is an astute administrator, a great mobilizer, strategist and excellent organizer. She is a member of several Professional associations, including; Nigerian Association for Educational Administration and Planning, Nigeria Institute of Management, Chartered, Association of Private Educators Nigeria, National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, Business and Professional Women, Fellow, Nigeria Institute of Corporate Administration of Nigeria, Life Member, Enterprise Development Centre, Pan-Atlantic University, African Women Entrepreneurship Program.
She’s held different executive positions such as; Vice- President, North Central Zone, African Women Entrepreneurship Program, National President, Business and Professional Women, Nigeria, Board Member, National Board of Technical Education, Board Member, Educate Nigeria Initiative, Board Member, IREDE Foundation, Board Member, Ladela Schools Ltd and Director, School Resource Centre.