The world of virtual business that most of us have encountered these past few years has led to ease of connectivity in a lot of regards, but 95% of people still agree that better business comes from person-to-person networking. As we lean into more face-to-face interactions, it’s important to dust off our networking skills and learn how to be memorable and engaged post-interaction. This is especially timely as Private Advisor Group heads into our Annual Conference in April – the biggest event of the year with ample opportunity for advisors to connect with their peers.
Understanding the Importance of Networking
Most people see networking as a major benefit for finding a meaningful job, but it has proven to also be pivotal to attaining career success. 80% of professionals find networking essential to their career success, almost 100% believe that face-to-face meetings build stronger long-term relationships, and 41% want to network more often. That’s not to discount the importance of fostering relationships in a virtual space, but as we begin going back to being in person more, it is important to recognize the weight that those kinds of connections carry.
Top Tips for Being Memorable
Whether you plan on dusting off and getting back to past networking tips that are tried and true or implementing new ways of differentiating yourself from others, we have compiled a list of the top tips for networking like a pro and how to maintain those connections post-interaction.
- Quality over Quantity: You don’t have to go around and talk to everyone in the room. If you are privy to who will be in attendance, do your research and see if there is anyone who you’d like to specifically connect with for best practices or because you look up to them in some capacity.
- Come with your Introduction: To introduce yourself effectively, come prepared. Remember to use your first and last name, a solid handshake with open body language, and a few brief but interesting details about yourself. Pro tip: make sure you update your LinkedIn or, if there is a conference app, add an updated photo to your profile so others will be able to easily recognize you!
- Ask questions: You can keep it safe and ask conference-related questions about favorite sessions or exploring the host city, or get a bit more personal and share aspects of your business and perhaps family lives. Stay curious and engaged and read body language to ensure it’s authentic and reciprocated.
- Follow Up: We polled our advisors in an internal survey on how they maintained connections post networking opportunity and found:
- 63% maintained connections by sending a LinkedIn request.
- 25% crafted and sent a personalized email.
- 12% picked up the phone and gave their new connections a call.
- A Fresh Spin on Business Cards: If you’re planning on bringing a physical business card, it may be worthwhile to look into adding a new element to it: a QR code. You can link the QR code to anything from your website to your LinkedIn, and it’s a great personal touch to add another layer of connection that is easy to use.
Securing Connection with Centers of Influences and Those Who Have Influenced Us
When we are in the market for something new or a change, who do we turn to? Usually, it’s those whose opinions and experiences we value. We all have centers of influence whose relationship we look up to and admire or even idolize. Whether we look for those who always want to be helpful – solicit ideas or suggestions, advice, etc. Trusting those who are able to be open, share and help.
- Give Credit Where Credit is Due: If there was someone specifically or an organization who had an impact on you, whether directly or from afar, and they in some way helped lead you to your success, give them a shoutout or a personal thank you. A thoughtful and sincere note carries a lot of meaning.
- Figure Out the Best Way to Connect: If you are looking for a meaningful way to be memorable, exchange contact information right on site and ask what the best way to connect with them would be.
- Don’t forget Digital: Did you meet someone who you really admire? Connect on professional networking sites like LinkedIn. I recommend adding a personal note of your conversation or where you encountered one another to solidify the connection for both of you. You can also tag the brand or individual if there was an especially impactful tip or quote. It’s a digital compliment, especially to conference speakers.
At the end of the day, strengthening existing relationships and having the ability to make new ones is an exciting process. There may be some prep that goes into it as we all continue to navigate handshakes and as we finally get to see people’s smiles in person, but it’s important to remember that while networking can have an impact on your professional success, it also allows you to create relationships which you may turn to for advice or lean into down the way. Take a quick inventory of what you’d like to change or augment with your networking skills and put them into practice, and have fun doing it!