A Guide to Networking, New York Cash Exchange: Follow-Up

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Yesterday I led a session on networking at the NY Cash Exchange’s 2022 Conference. I’ve been building my network throughout the industry for decades, and this is a topic I speak on frequently - I’m sure some of you have been with me at sessions in the past. It’s important to remember that networking is not just a way to find new jobs or advance our careers; networking is an invaluable leadership skill and a great way to share/gain knowledge. When we network successfully, we build genuine, mutually beneficial, relationships that lead to meaningful exchange of ideas, resources, and opportunities.

As we discussed yesterday, a few of the most important things to keep in mind are preparation, establishing a goal, and following through.

First, prepare prepare prepare! We want to go into these introductions knowing who we’re reaching out to, their business, and what we have in common. By doing our homework before engaging, time that would be spent on the basics can be used for more meaningful conversation. Showing up prepared also demonstrates that you’re considerate and understand the value of the other person’s time (as well as your own).

Second, it’s useful to have a specific goal in mind. Are you reaching out to get information about a possible business partner/client? Are you looking for career advice? Do you have information you want to share? Going into each discussion with an objective sets us up for success and for a more engaging interaction. Bottom line: make it about someone else….make someone feel valued; they will be more likely to help you when the time comes.

Third, and possibly the most important, is following through. This is what sets the best networkers apart. Within 24 hours of connecting, follow up and deliver on what you agreed upon. Set up another meeting. Share a relevant article. Take the time to show the person that you were listening and value the connection. As we talked about, networking is relationship building. If we don’t put in the effort to follow through, the relationship fizzles and goes nowhere.

It can be daunting to approach new people, especially if you’re just getting started. Take a deep breath and remember that we all have something to offer, something to learn, and we’re all in this together. Although networking virtually can present challenges, it can also be an opportunity to build confidence. Start small - send a message to someone on LinkedIn, ask a friend for an introduction, focus on listening. Networking is like any other skill, it gets easier with time, effort, and practice. Square your shoulders and take the first step.

Thank you again to those of you who joined me for the session! It was great to see you and I look forward to seeing you in the future, both virtually and in-person. Remember, there are lots of exciting sessions waiting for you in the next days of #NYCE - take what you learned in our discussion and broaden your networks.

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