Networking can be a nightmare for some and a breeze for others, but even the most outgoing vinas can find themselves having trouble making new connections in the professional world. If you find yourself caught somewhere in between, don’t freak out – we’ve got some tips to help you become a networking #bossbabe in no time!
Carry Business Cards At All Times
If you want to make an impression and snag a follow up coffee date with a new professional contact, be sure you have a way they can get in touch with you. Don’t rely on a pen and cocktail napkin to pass along your information – business cards are a great way to help you create contacts in the professional world (and they make you look fancy).
All you really need is your name and contact information (email address, cell phone number, and website if you have one). Even if you’re a struggling soon-to-be college grad and funds are low, scrape together some pennies and head over to VistaPrint or Moo to create some chic cards on the cheap!
Sign Up for (and Show Up to!) Networking Events in Your Area
You may be surprised at how many events are happening in your area, especially when it comes to opportunities to network with others in your area. Check out your city’s local Meetup or hope on Eventbrite to find networking groups or special events based on particular interests. You can also ask your colleagues and fellow professional Vinas if they know of any networking opportunities happening soon, too.
Don’t be afraid to make the first move, Vina! Whether you’re at an actual event meant for networking or in a coffeeshop between classes or meetings, take the time to chat with someone next to you. You never know who you’re going to meet – a potential new colleague or best friend – so don’t be afraid to say hi to someone.
Put your confident shoes on and brag about yourself! After all, there’s room to do that when you’re networking. Tell people what you’re up to, what you’re working on, and what you’ve been doing over the past year. Voicing your passions and accomplishments can spark a fascinating conversation.
Make Plans, Not Empty Promises
Look, it happens – we meet someone, have a great conversation, and say we’ll get together for coffee or a drink soon. Then life happens and inevitably, we don’t follow through. Don’t be the Vina that doesn’t make it happen! If you say you want to meet with someone, do it. Set a date for your next meeting before you leave the conversation. Considering most of us have smartphones nowadays, there are no excuses that help us avoid setting aside some time to connect with our newfound contact.
If you are in a professional setting (freelancers, that includes you!), it’s important to put yourself out there and make new connections. You never know who you will meet – a new gal pal, your future employer, or a life-long mentor to guide you through your career.
Featured image @Melissa Mackey Brand Co