Every #GirlBoss knows that the art of networking can transcend far beyond the realm of business, and is integral in our everyday lives. Whether you are looking to forge new relationships with clients or just make new friends, networking is an important skill to cultivate. This can be especially challenging when you are just starting out in a new place, and have no foundation on which to build up from. But fear not! We have all the tips and tricks to help you network like a pro, even if you don’t know anyone.
Being a California native living in South Carolina has truly shown me what it is like to have absolutely zero connections (sad, but true). Coming to Greenville from the West Coast was a big change, and I knew that establishing myself would pose somewhat of a challenge. If you are in a similar position, the first step is to dive headfirst into the unknown and trust in your abilities to form new relationships. In fact, that’s really all that networking is. Creating mutually beneficial connections with others.
A key ingredient to this simple recipe is being genuine. This is the only way to establish trust and authenticity in a new relationship. Do not try to be someone you are not. Instead, play up your individual strengths, quirks, and skills. People are more likely to positively respond to you if they can tell you are comfortable with yourself and have put in the necessary work to get to where you are.
Once friendships have blossomed (and how could they not, you’re delightful!), it is easy to stop attempting to meet new people and fall into routine.
But don’t quit there!
New friends can put you in contact with a whole new network of people with whom they themselves have connected. For example, every time I meet someone new, I ask to be introduced to others that they are close with. This has led to me meeting a plethora of new people I would not have known otherwise. The same principle holds true in business. Once you recruit a new client, do not be scared to ask if they know anyone else in need of your services. Odds are, they do.
Another key aspect to networking in a new place is to constantly put yourself out there. Literally. Go to different events that spark your interest and your career goals, talk to your superiors: you never know who you can meet through a single interaction! Networking tools such as LinkedIn are great, but never underestimate the power of a face to face conversation. Reaching out to people may be uncomfortable at first, but it is well worth it. You may find yourself with a new mentor who can share knowledge, or even speaking with a future employer who recognizes your #GirlBoss potential.
The last tip I have is to always follow up. This may seem trivial, but a phone call or email thanking someone for their time or letting them know you enjoyed meeting them can solidify a new connection. Relationships are not formed on one interaction alone, which is why it is important to stay in touch and remind people of how you can help them. I know every #GirlBoss has a lot to offer, and with these simple tricks we can easily form networks wherever our busy lives take us.