In “Newbies to networking: part I,” I tried to light the networking fire within you. Now it’s your turn to take action. Don’t hesitate to seek guidance from your peers or work colleagues. This may surprise you, but people want to help you. Deep down, most people have a desire to be useful. Exploit that desire. Use their connections to your advantage. Below I explain three ways for you to reach out to these contacts.
This is the easiest method of contact because you can draft your message ahead of time. Triple check your spelling. Your request or inquiry will be immediately ignored if you make a careless spelling error. Be professional. DO NOT start your emails with “Hey.” Instead, begin with “Hello, “Dear,” or merely the point of contact’s name. Be concise and to the point. Provide them with a glimpse of who you are. No one has time to read your life story. They’ll respond if they want to know more. If you’re inquiring about a job opening, attach your cover letter and resume. A unique email signature will make you standout and let your point of contact know you mean business. You’re a YOPRO and not afraid to show it. Create your own brand. Your email signature, cover letter, resume and online presence should have a common theme whether that’s a color scheme, font or photo.
There’s a lot of pressure when cold-calling. You can’t hide behind a computer like when you’re sending an email. You can’t be certain of how the conversation will go. Maybe they won’t answer. Maybe they’ll shut you down. But MAYBE they’ll appreciate your “old fashioned” phone call and want to meet you in person. Professionals can receive upwards of one hundred emails a day. They may glance over your email among the masses. In today’s online world, people receive fewer phone calls. Even if your point of contact doesn’t answer your cold-call, they will probably listen to your message. Your voicemail will be one of a few as opposed to one of hundreds. Increase your chances of a response by picking up the phone. Have a game plan for your phone call. I usually write down a couple points on a piece of paper to ensure I don’t forget anything or start to ramble. When talking with your point of contact, be sure to thank them for taking the time to speak with you.
This is the most nerve-racking method of contact, but it is the one during which you can make the best impression. While in D.C., I’ve attended a number of panelist discussions at prominent think tanks. There are plenty of professionals at these events I should approach and introduce myself to, but I can’t seem to work up the courage. In this instance, do as I say and not as I do. Arm yourself with business cards, the weapon of choice for any real yopro. Identify your target. Having intel on the target will help with conversation but don’t be afraid to ask what they do or why they attended the event. Have an elevator pitch prepared beforehand. If they seem interested, offer them your business card and suggest grabbing coffee to talk some more. Don’t know what an elevator pitch is? Stay tuned for next week’s post.
This post was originally published by the author 23 October 2016: http://www.yoproprobs.com/single-post/2016/10/23/Newbies-to-networking-part-II