My writer-producer-instructor-author-lecturer-consultant-mentor-friend Heather Hale is in the process of writing a book about networking. Because she's such a wealth of valuable information, I've asked Heather to let me share a couple of her extremely helpful suggestions with you. It's advice that makes a great deal of sense and is incredibly useful.
HH Tip #1: Not all networking is equal. You may be going to networking events, but are they the right events for you? Are they serving you well? Are you making the right connections? Make an effort to meet and network with the people who have the ability to take your career to the next level—not just with the people you work with all the time or the people who do what you do. HH Tip #2: If meeting new people is uncomfortable for you, and you're feeling hesitant about attending a networking event, take a friend along and work as a tag team. Split up when you get there, and have your friend introduce herself to and strike up a conversation with the person you would most like to meet. After they've been talking for a while, walk up to your friend, and let her introduce you. Addressing the other person, she'll say something like, "Oh, do you know_?"
(meaning you) and then possibly add a comment or two relating to what you do, a recent accomplishment of yours, why you two should get together—you get the picture. It's a great way to meet and let someone you'd like to know, know about you, without having to do the hard part. Just be sure to repay the favor by doing the same for your friend.
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