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Networking

These New LinkedIn Updates Will Up Your Networking Game

LinkedIn has been an important networking platform for years but over the past few months, they’ve made some significant updates to their user experience to help us taking our networking to the next level!

Here are 3 important updates you should know about:

Easily meet up with other members

Have you ever been out of town for a conference or meeting and wish you had the opportunity to connect with people in your network? Well, now you can! You have to opt-in for this feature in order to make your current location public but I can definitely see it proving itself useful for those who “never eat alone”. P.S. If you’ve never read the book, Never Eat Alone, it’s a must-read that will completely change the way you view networking.

Photo Filters

Bring your Instagram skills over to LinkedIn because you now have much more options to to edit your photo from cropping to a wide array of filters. Don’t forget – your photo is the first thing people look at when they land on your profile so you should always ensure it’s high-quality and the best reflection of you!

Message connections from anywhere on LinkedIn

Connecting with someone on Linkedin is easier than ever as you can now access the messaging tool from wherever you are. Found someone interesting you want to learn more about? You don’t even have to leave their profile to send them a message! Plus, Linkedin now provides message prompts to help you construct the perfect message. We’ve all been there – we want to send a short but intelligent sounding message but we have no idea what to say. Looks like Linkedin understood our pain and has pre-written messages that you can either use word-for-word or simply just use them as inspiration for what you would like to say.

If you haven’t been spending much time on LinkedIn lately, head over and check these features out. Happy networking!

4 Ways to Gracefully Exit a Networking Conversation

When it comes to networking events, a common challenge for people is figuring out the right icebreakers. What exactly do you say to end that awkward silence and start a conversation?

I was recently quoted in a roundup article on Ladders HQ alongside six other professionals to share my favourite go-to icebreaker – statement jewelry. Trust me when I say it’s the networking tool you never knew you needed.

But icebreakers aside, it’s not just starting the conversation that’s a challenge – it’s gracefully exiting it. You know what I mean. You need to end the conversation because you see someone else you would like to chat with – or you simply want to go home and curl up with a blanket and Netflix. (By the way, that is totally understandable and I may or may not have left a networking event to do this.)

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Whatever the reason is, here are 4 scripts you can use to gracefully leave the conversation:

Be honest about work

“Sara, it was a pleasure meeting you but I do have to head out as I have a few other things on my to-do list tonight. Enjoy the rest of your evening!

Going to chat with someone else

“Pleasure chatting with you, Claire – I actually see an old colleague of mine that I’d like to say hi to before heading out. I’d love to get your card though and I’ll connect with you online.

When you want to plan a follow-up chat

Alicia – so glad we met tonight! I do have to head out but we should definitely set up a time to chat further about [insert topic you talked about here] – can I get your card and I’ll shoot you an email this week?

When you’re looking for a job and they seem like they could help

Grace – so nice chatting with you. Unfortunately, I do have to head out but do you mind if I get your card? I love the sound of the culture at [insert company name here] – by what you’ve said it seems like a great place to work! I’d love to connect and set up a time for us to grab a coffee – if you have some time in your schedule in the next few weeks?

What things have you said to exit a networking conversation?

Ideate Networking Event Recap – January 2017

They say that third time’s a charm. I’ve never fully believed that until I had the opportunity to co-host my third ideate networking event alongside my business bestie, Jeanne.

Curious to hear the story behind my networking events? Read this recap from our first event.

On Sunday, January 22, Jeanne and I brought together 15 amazing women who were so diverse yet alike in that we all share an innate passion for entrepreneurship.

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How to Get the Most Out of Conferences

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Out of all the various way to network, I have to admit that I like conferences the most. Not only is it an excellent way to expand your network (as most typically have hundreds of people) but you also get to increase your knowledge! I don’t know about you but in my eyes – that’s a win-win!

But to ensure that you get the most for your time and money commitment, you need a plan. Instead of just showing up and hoping that you’ll meet great people, it’s better to be intentional about what you want to achieve while you’re there.

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10 Ways to Boost Your Personal Brand Over the Holidays

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As soon as December hits, many of us tend to mentally turn off as we take time to relax, attend parties and dinners and simply curl up with a cozy blanket. We think back to the past 11 months and how hard we’ve worked and it only seems right that December becomes our month to shut off before restarting in the new year.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m all for taking time for breaks and self-care and to be completely honest, I plan to do just that. But the holidays are actually the perfect time for personal brand building! Think about it – with tons of invites to parties, dinners, events, etc., it provides you with tons of opportunity to network – probably more opportunities than you have throughout the rest of the year. Also as everyone is in a state of reflection and goal setting, it’s also a great time to start seeking out new opportunities, such as a new job.

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5 Ways to Maintain an Active Presence on LinkedIn

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When was the last time you were on LinkedIn?

Be honest! If you haven’t been on it in the last month, don’t worry – you’re not alone.

Almost every week, I end up having a conversation with someone that just doesn’t get LinkedIn. Sure, they have a profile set up just to be present on the platform but they have not made any effort to have their presence known. They barely have information on their profile, if any (perhaps their profile photo is a selfie – you can’t see me right now but I just cringed as I wrote that) and they simply do not make LinkedIn a priority.

You see, there’s a very big difference between just having a dormant profile and actively maintaining your profile. The former does absolutely nothing for your personal brand while the latter actively builds your brand familiarity and expertise.

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How to Get Started When You’re New to Networking

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Networking is not easy.

There. I said it.

Although it’s something that I talk about frequently and it’s something that I’m a huge advocate for…there’s no denying how hard it is.

Well, first you have to figure out when and where the networking event is. But, of course, I’ve tried my best to make it easier for you by adding an Event Calendar to the site!

Then, you have to make conversation with complete strangers after trying to figure out a good ice breaker. And if you’re an introvert, you’re likely hoping that you don’t have visible sweat pits from your nervousness. Trust me, I’ve been there!

And of course, you have to pitch yourself so you actually like sound an interesting and professional individual.

I mean, talk about pressure!

Over time, networking does become much easier but if it’s something you’re new to, I can just imagine how you feel! But, like anything you want to succeed at, you need a plan so here’s my tips for before, during and after if you’re new to networking:

Before

Figure out your goals and objectives

I’ve talked about this in the context of informational interviews but this also applies to networking in general. Without a clear sense of what your goals are, you’ll be mindlessly networking and it won’t be a good use of your time.

For example, are you looking for a job? Are you looking to build your network?

With this in mind, you’ll be able to search for networking opportunities that are directly related to your goals and objectives.

Review your social profiles and business cards

One of the first things that I do after a networking event is look up people on Linkedin. If someone were to look at your profile right now, would they like what they see? Take this opportunity before you invite more eyeballs to your online profiles to ensure that they are up to date and they are a positive reflection of you.

Here are some things to review:

  • Your headshot: Do you have one? Is it a professional headshot and not a selfie?
  • Do you have your most recent role added to your Linkedin profile?
  • Is your summary on Linkedin and your other social bios personable yet professional?
  • Do you have any spelling or grammatical errors?

In addition, review your business cards – do you have a lot left or do you need to order more? Do your business cards have your most up-to-date information?

If you don’t have a business card (maybe because you’re a student or in between jobs?), I highly recommend creating a personal brand card! The card would include:

  • Your name
  • Your industry/profession/specialty
  • Your email
  • Social media handles

Whether you’ll be bringing a business card or a personal brand card, never attend a networking event empty handed!

Audit your closet for appropriate networking attire

Although the dress code will vary depending on the event you’ll be attending, you should look polished and professional no matter what! Here’s my go-to networking look for a business casual environment:

  • Blazer or cardigan
  • Nice shirt
  • Statement necklace
  • Dark wash jeans
  • Pumps

Don’t have any suitable items in your closet? Take a quick trip to the mall to pick up these staple wardrobe items.

Search for the opportunities

Finding the right opportunities does require a bit of work, here’s my post on how to find local networking opportunities!  Be sure to check out my Event Calendar too!

Find a “wing woman”

This is when having a business bestie really comes in handy! I mean, if you’re feeling like you want to attend alone – all the power to you – but having a friend with you is really helpful especially if it is your first networking event ever. See if you can find a friend that is familiar with networking that will be able to give you a boost of confidence and you can observe how they navigate the room!

 

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During

Be natural! As scary as it may feel walking into a room full of strangers, remember that everyone is there for the same reason! Just breathe, smile and be yourself!

Start conversations by the food and beverages: As a newbie, coming up with how to break the ice may be a bit nerve wracking so there’s no better way to start a conversation than by the food and drinks. Make a comment on how tasty the food is and someone near by is bound to agree which will give you the perfect opportunity to segue into a conversation.

Don’t hand out business cards to everyone you meet! It’s extremely tacky to just shove your card into someone’s hands if you’ve barely exchanged a few words. Only give your cards to people who you had a great conversation with and you would like to stay connected. And while we’re talking about business cards – keep your cards easily accessible so you don’t have to dig around in your purse when you need them.

Watch your alcohol intake: I know that a drink may give you some liquid courage but please make sure you don’t go overboard! A networking event is one of many places where you really don’t want to embarrass yourself by being intoxicated.

After

You thought your work was done, didn’t you?

Make sure to check out this post on the 4 things you should do after a networking event.

Although networking can be a bit nerve wracking, building a professional network is key to your career success. I highly encourage you to use these tips, step out of your comfort zone and be confident as you embark on your networking journey!

How to Find Local Networking Opportunities

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Everyone (including me!) is always stressing the importance of networking. We know that “what you know” is less important than “who you know”. In a world where all it takes to get your foot in the door is knowing the right person, “your network is your net worth”.

And trust me, I can attest. Networking has the power to create some amazing opportunities.

But, how do you actually go about finding networking events, conferences, etc. to attend?

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The Benefits of a Business Bestie

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Collaboration divides the task and multiplies the success.

I don’t think there’s any other words that can accurately describe the last few months of my life more than those.

With collaboration playing such a huge role in my life and professional development, there was no question that this needed to be the theme of the 2nd ideate networking lunch, the event that I partner with my business bestie, Jeanne, to organize and co-host. More specifically, the theme was “Stronger Together: The Power of Partnerships and Collaborations”.

But let’s back up a bit.

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