10 Simple Tips to Be a Professional Networking Superstar!

10 Simple Tips to Be a Professional Networking Superstar!

Hey there. My name is Steve Johnson and I
am the creator of the video blog FizzyLimon, the classical music channel The Listener’s
Guide, and the Dallas Opera synopsis series Opera in Brief. (00:24) I have also guest written and hosted
for a couple other channels in my time, and was even on the inaugural “Less Than Famous”
panel at VidCon, and I am here to talk to you about what got me pretty much all of that:
networking. (00:36) Now, I know what you’re thinking.
A lot of inexperienced networkers have this common misconception of a sleazy-looking businessman
with slicked back hair and a toothy smile turning on the charm and telling you than
any time you’re in San Francisco, just talk to your old pal Jim Bob. (00:49) But here’s the thing: nobody really
likes Jim Bob. He’s just giving you a sales pitch. Networking is really about building
a community of people in your field and building mutually trusting and beneficial relationships
with them. (01:03) To borrow from former President John
F. Kennedy, “And so my fellow ‘How to Adult’ viewers, ask not what your contact can do
for you, ask what you can do for your contact.” (01:14) If you adopt the mindset of helping
others, you’ll not only be more fulfilled, but more desirable. And there are some other
ways to make yourself more desirable as well. First, Business Insider recommends that you
have three qualities: Visibility, Credibility, and Profitability. Essentially, do what you
want to do and do it well so that you can show it to the people that you want to sell
it to. (01:33) Next, it’s a good idea to have an
Elevator Pitch ready. This is essentially and introduction of yourself, your position,
your company, and your goals with the listener. The idea is that if you should meet somebody
important in an elevator, you should be able to explain everything that you want them to
know before they reach their floor. You’ve actually already heard one of these today.
Can we get a replay? (High-pitched, fast-paced speech from beginning
of video) (02:04) Finally, have business cards. These
are definitely important if you want to stay in touch with people that you make contacts
with. But keep in mind that these are for the end of the conversation. Only give them
to people if you get a good enough vibe that you think they’re gonna follow up. Otherwise,
it’s just gonna end up in a drawer, never to be seen again. (02:22) “But, Steve,” you ask. “Where do you
find contacts in the first place?” You already have a lot, but you probably just call them
family and friends. Professional and hobby associations are also a great way to meet
a diverse group of people with similar interests. And finally, social networking, especially
with LinkedIn and Twitter, are a great way to find people in your field. Once you have
a good idea of who knows who, you can start asking for introductions and branch out from
there. (02:48) Now, when you do meet someone, always
remember that your number one concern should be building a relationship, not getting a
job. Make good conversation. If you’re not good at small talk, just ask them questions
about themselves. You can even prepare these in advance so that you have an idea of where
you want to steer the conversation. (02:05) Informational interviews are another
great way to network. This is when you find somebody in your field that you respect and
you ask them for some job advice. Remember that you are not asking them for a job; only
tips. Lots of the world’s most successful people have essentially replaced their blood
with coffee, so an invitation to a nearby cafe for a free cup can be a welcome release
from their hectic work days. Just be certain that you pick up the tab as a way to thank
them for their time. (03:30) Sometimes, though, you’ll want to
meet someone from outside your network, which might mean that you have to send a cold e=mail.
Speaking as someone’s whose work flow requires a second monitor dedicated entirely to e-mail,
you’re gonna wanna keep these short if you want a response. Three to four sentences is
best, essentially being your elevator pitch plus suggested topics for future conversation
at an informational interview. (03:51) And I realize that a lot of these
skills don’t come very naturally to introverts, and there is a certain amount of faking it
until you make it. Just don’t apologize for anything. Everybody else is networking too,
and they understand. Apologizing can come across as lacking confidence or professionalism. (04:07) But if you are genuinely too anxious
to talk to strangers, therapists are magical and there is no shame in seeing one. That’s
just another topic for another video. (04:16) So you’ve successfully made a contact!
Congratulations! Now you have to follow through. You want to prove that you’re dependable,
so do whatever you told them you would. Sometimes you will get rejected, and well, we’ve already
talked about that on this channel. (04:27) “It’s not because you’re not the bomb
diggity, because you are. You are the bomb diggity.” (04:32) For cold e-mails, you may not get
a response at all, and that’s totally okay. It’s also perfectly acceptable to follow up
on them after about a week. That even shows persistence. Just be sure that you maintain
connects that you’ve already made. Send your contacts links to articles that they might
find interesting. Put them in contact with people that you think that oughta know. After
all, they need the network just as much as you do. (04:51) If you are interested in more sources
on networking and career building, I’ve left some links in the description to renowned
books on the topic. If you’d like to see more of me, don’t forget to check out my channels
in the description either. (05:03) I’d like to give a big thank you to
Mike for inviting me to write and host this episode. It’s definitely been a blast, and
I would like it if you guys could give your appreciation to him as well by giving this
a good old thumbs up, sharing, and subscribing, and they will see you next time on “How to
Adult.” (05:19) (Music)

Author: Kevin Mason

52 thoughts on “10 Simple Tips to Be a Professional Networking Superstar!

  1. Thank you very much for this!!! 🙂 Networking is probably the hardest challenge of life. Well, to me at least.

  2. Great tips! I have found that finding some personal details out about the people also helps and remembering 1 or 2 as an easy conversation starter. I keep notes in my contacts about them (just point form) so it's an easy conversation starter. I know that I like it when people remember the personal tidbits about me do I try to reciprocate. Whether it's they love historic fiction, canoeing, golf, their kids or animal, it's a nice way to add a personal touch. I am a girl in a male driven field who is an introvert so it helps me approach people in a friendly way. You won't use this unless you've run into them before but it has helped me get introductions to others!

  3. I go to a reasonable number of academic conferences and find networking INCREDIBLY difficult. I also find the concept of "networking" in academia, which (at least in the UK) is overwhelmingly introverted, a bit odd. Yet I know that, at the end of my PhD, being able to get a decent "real" job somewhere will rely largely on my professional contacts–so I feel the pressure to network very much. This was really helpful, thank you.

  4. This is super helpful. So far, I always felt insecure and somewhat out of place when I attended networking events 

  5. Build a CRM. It is a software to manage your contacts. A good free one is CapsuleCRM. A good paid one is Pipedrive which allows you to put people into a pipeline or progress tract in your relationship.

  6. steve is always on point when it comes to this stuff!! definitely filing these in the memory bank for future networking events. also, just a side note: the annotations at the end are very confusing because they all come up at once!

  7. This is the most helpful episode ever! I'm in the final quarter of my undergrad and in that whole not just job but CAREER searching stage of life and I find networking incredibly awkward and do feel a little sleazy and underhanded when I ask professional people for favors so the points in this video were practically MADE for me! Thank you.

  8. What do you put on a business card if you don't have a job or are in a short-term position?  Any advice on networking at events/conventions where everyone is more established than you and seems to already know each other?

  9. Thank you so much for this video, strangely topical for me right now. Needed the reminder about not apologizing. Apologizing is in my nature, it's hard to remember that most people actually are understanding.

  10. This was really helpful. I've done a fair number of informational interviews but I'm always really bad at the follow-through.

  11. Cannot recommend informational interviews highly enough. We had to do them as part of my college program, and it probably would never have occurred to me otherwise, but I've made a couple of great contacts that way. One in particular ultimately led to me getting…not a job, exactly, but an exciting gig/opportunity.

  12. I was going to put a sarcastic comment about how I hate the host, but realized soon that some might not be in on the joke. 

    But great advice! The whole not apologizing thing is a definite, and its hard, but I think I've gotten the hang of it haha.

  13. Am I the only one who thinks the follow up call/email seems naggy? I mean, I know they're important and that the other people don't think of them that way, but I can't shake that feeling. Does anyone have tips? Ways to word it that aren't naggy or ways to think about it that remove that negative connotation? 

  14. I need a set of greeting cards that says "YOU ARE THE BOMB-DIGGITY" on the cover. Appropriate for all card-giving occasions except for maybe funerals and even then we just need a past tense version.

  15. I hate networking. I mean, incidental networking is fine: I've gotten jobs thanks to former employers and such, but deliberate networking? Noooo. Then again, I have very little ambition. I have a great job and a decent salary and I'm satisfied where I am for now. If not networking means settling for mediocrity, I'm okay with that.

  16. Cold e-mailing is quite helpful and often not talked about much. I do it by saying my name, what I'm interested in, and why I think the person I want to talk to (the recipient) is cool. Then end by asking if they have 5-10 minutes to talk over the phone.

  17. The most confused I've been about networking is when I go to a "networking event" or am otherwise told to network. When I'm at a conference or just meeting new people in the course of everyday work… I seem to receive business cards and helpful tips pretty easily!

  18. Thanks. This was a much more approachable explanation of networking than I've ever seen before.

    I have a video request: how to cope with the utter panic of post-graduation life when you have NO IDEA what to do next. Please send help. 

  19. Networking is important no matter your business.
    Especially if you're trying to take over the world!
    seriously, though, very important, and awesome video.

  20. the field i'm going in isn't gonna require networking, just a strong stomach, and i find that reassuring somehow.

  21. This is great! Thanks for the tips. My biggest issues with networking are follow through and cold emails. I tend to be a bit verbose and a bit of a perfectionist, so sometimes I put things off so long that I feel weird reaching out when I feel like I should have already gotten to it weeks ago.

  22. Such a helpful video!
    I would also like to add that for people in college/uni, your professors can actually be a great resource. If there's a professor you really like who is in the field you're interested in, shoot them an e-mail or visit their office hours and ask for some advice. They might personally be able to help you, or they might be able to connect you with someone else who can. After all, these are people who have done work in their field out in the world, who know how hard starting out can be, and who have already done a lot of networking.

  23. Thank you this was very helpful I'm hosting my first network group meeting and I'm going to open with this video!!!! Thanks again! Good Stuff!

  24. Crap !!!!!. This contains very general, truism, almost nothing to follow. The self chat and self proclaimed guru. The self validation and seeking verification. Nothing else. Disappointed with this self talk.

  25. I hate networking! Especially among scientists, because 90% of us are introverts, so we suck at small talk. Also small talk is the worst concept ever invented. If I'm gonna connect with somebody, I go genuine or I don't go. But being genuine and trying to 'make friends' with more than one person a week is just hard.

  26. Lacking confidence and professionalism… By apologies, I hate that we live in a world we're you have to act (YES… ACT.. It's all fakery) like your perfect, fodbiden of being anxious or having a mental illness because self proclaimed important people see your slip ups as weakness this world is bullshit. Good intentions, skills and genuine people are marsked by someone with a bigger mouth and over confidence

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