MOM CORPS: It Takes a Network

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I used to hate networking. It conjured up images of crowded events in stuffy hotel lobbies, nametags getting stuck in my hair, balancing a glass of white wine, and standing awkwardly among strangers. To add insult to injury, I PAID to attend!

But, love it or leave it, networking is an important part of your career. As a former networking-loather, I thought I’d share the tips and tricks I acquired to getting through them:

  1. Remember that you have something to offer and approach each conversation with the intention of figuring how you can help the other person. This is a great tip I got from Keith Ferrazzi’s excellent Relationship Mastery Academy. I’ve made great, meaningful relationships with folks I’ve met at events just by offering to be helpful in meeting their goals.
  2. Approach people standing alone. It’s easy to start up a conversation with a person standing solo, and they are often grateful that you “made the first move.”
  3. Use tables and lines as ways to get to know people. “Is this the line for the food/bar/registration?” or “Is this seat taken?” are great conversation starters.
  4. Circulate! There was a time I would find someone at these events and cling to them. But this severely limited my ability to meet people. So I make a deal with myself before an event to talk to at least 20 people. I’m not allowed to leave until I do.
  5. Know how to exit the conversation. If you want to circulate, you’re going to have to learn how to exit a conversation. One, decide what the next steps are with this person. Two, say, “It’s been great talking to you and hearing about your experience…I’m going to follow-up with you about xxx.” Three, ask for their contact information.
  6. Follow-up. Within 24 hours send an email that says “nice meeting up” and then give them anything you promised them that would be helpful.
  7. Keep in touch. If you hit it off, make sure you don’t disappear.
  8. Finally, make sure you’re able to articulate how people can help you, in case any one asks!
About Julie Lacouture

Julie Lacouture is the Principal and co-owner of Mom Corps Los Angeles, a business specializing in helping companies find highly-qualified talent for flexible, part-time, or temporary jobs. After working for over 12 years in marketing, advertising, and non-profit, in 2010 Julie decided to fulfill her lifelong dream of running her own company and open a Mom Corps franchise in Los Angeles with business partner Kate Pletcher.