Networking: 5 Ways To Work It Into Your Life

Written by Lynn Dixon, co-founder & COO, Hourly

Networking. Some people consider it a guaranteed way to connect with industry luminaries. Others believe it’s the ideal way market your professional capabilities and build brand awareness. Still, others dread the concept, and try to avoid it at all costs.

Truth is, networking remains one of the most effective techniques for selling yourself, as well as uncovering new business opportunities, projects and jobs.

But there’s a key to networking success that isn’t often discussed — knowing how to conduct yourself in various social situations is essential.

While handing out business cards may work wonders for you at a designated networking event, the same strategy might not work in a different atmosphere. Is there a way to predict what techniques will be effective in a specific setting?

Let’s look at several common social scenarios, and consider an appropriate networking plan of action for each:

1) Work Events

Work events come in all shapes and sizes, from professional development courses to off-site meetings with colleagues. These events tend to be more formal and task-oriented. Typically these settings are not ideal for aggressive networking, primarily because your participation is tied to other business goals.

How to play it: Although you may know most people at a work event, you can subtly network by introducing yourself to other attendees. When it fits into the flow of conversation, you might also mention recent accomplishments or challenges you’ve overcome. This helps people in your internal network see where you shine, and helps them envision how you could contribute to future projects with them or others they know.

2) Office Parties

Events like the annual holiday party or your boss’s birthday don’t usually scream “networking.” Conversations are often focused on personal life, and you may not want to think about business. Although no one wants to “talk shop” throughout an entire office party, it can be an awesome opportunity diplomatically reinforce your strengths.

How to play it: Put the alcohol down and get to know colleagues you don’t know well, especially those in other departments. You don’t have to brag about your accomplishments, but you can weave in your expertise. Chances are, one day they may need your skills on a project. Be memorable and focus on how you add value.

3) Family Events

You probably believe family events are the last place to whip out your resume and market yourself, but these events can be a networking goldmine. Think about it. Your family wants you to do well in your career. It’s like preaching to the choir. You just have to know what songs to sing.

How to play it: Although members of your family probably don’t work in your industry, they’re likely to know someone who does. That’s why it’s advisable to touch base about business with as many people as possible while you “work the aisles” at reunions, weddings and other family gatherings. Bring a stash of business cards, in case someone expresses interest. In the future, if someone they know needs someone with your skills, you’ll be the first person on their radar.

4) Industry Conferences

Conferences are a great way to establish excellent connections who can help you expand your network. Sometimes the premise of a conference centers on networking. Other conferences are developed for you to learn more about your industry by listening to speakers, attending workshops and sharing ideas with professional colleagues.

How to play it: This is one of those obvious networking situations where you’ll need lots of business cards, a stack of resumes, and a variety of portfolio samples. Since conferences attract a plethora of industry colleagues, you never know who you’ll run into — so you need to be prepared. It’s also smart to refresh your LinkedIn profile before the event, so anyone who checks your profile afterward will see your most current information.

5) Running Errands

Picture this: You’re at the grocery store when you see an influential member of your industry. You don’t want to throw business cards at this important person, but you do want to make a connection. How do you approach a power player in public without appearing to be desperate?

How to play it: Look for an appropriate opening. Briefly introduce yourself and explain why you admire this person. Try to mention a recent article they wrote or compliment them on a recent accomplishment. Then, close quickly by asking if you could connect via email or on a social network. This opens the door to future conversations while downplaying what could otherwise be an awkward situation.

The ability to market yourself in any situation is a skill that should be practiced and polished. You never know who you’ll bump into and how they could help you out in the future. Look at every situation as a chance to boost your network and provide a possible stepping stone for your career.

What do you think about the power of networking in social settings? How have you marketed yourself at various events? What has been effective for you?

Lynn-Dixon(About the Author: Lynn Dixon is the co-founder and COO of, an employment network that quickly matches people who are interested in flexible positions with the right opportunities. Connect with Lynn and Hourly on Twitter and LinkedIn.)

(Editor’s Note: This post is republished from Brazen Life, with permission. Brazen Life is a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals. Hosted by Brazen Careerist, it offers edgy and fun ideas for navigating the changing world of work. Be Brazen!)

(Also Note: To discuss World of Work topics like this with others in the TalentCulture community, join our online #TChat Events every Wednesday, from 6:30-8pm ET. Everyone is welcome at events, or to join our ongoing Twitter conversation anytime. Learn more…)

Image Credit: Pixabay

Good Works in the Workplace #TChat Recap

“If you can connect people, you can create the future.”
– Scott Heiferman, CEO Meetup

Thanks to the wonder of technology, network access continues to grow at an astounding pace around the world. According to Internet World Stats, 34% of the world’s 7 billion people are already online. And not surprisingly, North America leads the way, with 79% usage.

Making Connections Count

But there’s a more important challenge, here. It’s not just about counting connections. It’s about making those connections count. That led TalentCulture to ask a more specific question:

How can we leverage “always on” workplace connectivity to also do good works?

In response, some of the smartest and most passionate “world of work” advocates I know gathered on #TChat Twitter to talk about how social business initiatives can make a difference for those in need — locally and globally.

It reminded me of another event that happened last fall, where some of the planet’s smartest and most passionate philanthropy advocates gathered in New York City at the Mashable Social Good Summit. That’s where Meetup CEO Scott Heiferman, offered his quote about the power of connections in creating the future.

Two Think Tanks — One Vision

These two venues may be different — the participants may be different — and their overall reach and influence may be different. But the ideas and energy that were flowing last night on the #TChat stream were just as compelling as the vibe at the Mashable event.

To see what I mean, check this week’s archives, and get inspired to connect!

#TChat Week-in-Review

Two experts led us through this week’s conversation:

  • Jure Klepic, a digital marketing strategist and commentator focused on in social media innovation in consumer business environments;
  • Marion Mariathasan, CEO at a social network for that integrates giving into daily activities.
Jure Klepic - Google+ Hangout Video - #TChat Sneak Peek  interview with TalentCulture Community Manager, Tim McDonald

Watch the Sneak Peek video with Jure Klepic

#TChat Preview:  Our community manager, Tim McDonald, outlined the week’s topic and key questions in the #TChat Preview post: “Social Business and Social Good”

Sneak Peek VideosTim also conducted brief video interviews with our guests:

MON 4/22 TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro, in her post: “3 Global Leadership Lessons From Boston.”

Meghan on Monday: Separately, Meghan shared a more intimate view of her connection with Boston in  “Lessons in Community From My Hometown.”

TUE 4/23


Listen to the radio show recording

#TChat Radio  Our hosts Kevin and Meghan talked with Jure and Marion about how social media can do a better job of connecting the “world of work” with the world’s charitable organizations.

WED 4/24

#TChat Twitter  Hundreds of talent-minded people joined our open, online Twitter forum to exchange ideas in real-time. Watch highlights from the hour in the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Twitter Highlights Slideshow: “Social Business and Social Good”

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Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

SPECIAL THANKS: Again, thanks to Marion Mariathasan and Jure Klepic for contributing to this week’s conversation. You brought depth and perspective that challenged our community to think more creatively about how we can weave “social good” objectives and behaviors into daily worklife.

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about “Social Business and Social Good” or related issues? We’re happy to share your thoughts. Just post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week, we’ll be looking into HR technology’s role in creating tomorrow’s workforce, as Meghan and Kevin go on the road at the HRO Today Forum. Stay tuned for “sneak peek” videos and a preview post on Monday!

Until then, as always, the World of Work conversation continues each day. So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, or on our new LinkedIn discussion group. And feel free to explore other areas of our redesigned blog/community website. The lights are always on at TalentCulture, and your ideas and opinions are always welcome.

We’ll see you on the stream!

Image credit: Pixabay

Social Business and Social Good: #TChat Preview

(Editor’s Note: For full insights from this week’s events see “Good Works in the Workplace”)

Question: How many nonprofit organizations are in the U.S.?

a)   200,000
b)   750,000
c)  1,100,000
d)  1,500,000+

If you aimed high, you’re right. According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, our country is home to more than 1.5 million charities, foundations and other nonprofit organizations.

Many are embracing social media as an easy way to extend their reach to socially conscious business organizations and their employees. However, the results are mixed. The 2012 Nonprofit Social Networking Report says many organizations are finding value in using social channels. However, translating those social media relationships into actual donations is a continual challenge.

Social Good: A Little Less Talk, More Action?

Are we spending too much time talking about social good, and not enough time on “doing” good? The TalentCulture community has tackled this topic before with guests from the business side of the corporate responsibility equation. (See  Business and the Spirit of Sharing.) But this week we’ve asked other experts to share their unique perspective on this topic:

  • Jure Klepic, a digital marketing strategist and commentator focused on in social media innovation in consumer business environments;
  • Marion Mariathasan, CEO at a social network for that integrates giving into daily activities.

#TChat Sneak Peek Videos

Jure framed this week’s conversation by talking with me about cultural factors that influence charitable behavior. Watch the Google+ Hangout now:

Next, Marion briefly touched on a key issue that successful giving initiatives must address:

#TChat Events: Putting More “Good” in Social Good

I’m excited to learn more from both of these guests, as they help us explore this topic throughout the coming week.


Tune-in to #TChat Radio live on Tuesday

How about you? What are your thoughts as members of a community focused on the “human” side of business? What kind of benefits do you see for companies and the workforce at-large in connecting more deeply with charitable organizations through digital channels?

Join the TalentCulture conversation, and let’s explore the possibilities:

#TChat Radio — Tuesday, April 23 at 7:30pmET / 4:30pmPT Jure and Marion talk with hosts Kevin W. Grossman and Meghan M. Biro about how social media can do a better job of connecting the “world of work” with the world’s charitable organizations.

#TChat Twitter — Wednesday, April 24 at 7:00pmET / 4:00pmPT — Everyone is welcome at our open, online Twitter forum, to exchange ideas in real-time about these key questions:

Q1:  Social channels facilitate open communication across groups, but what about charitable giving?
Q2:  How can nonprofits better align with corporate social responsibility initiatives?
Q3:  How can business leaders and employees boost charitable giving in their organizations?
Q4:  What ways can companies and employees contribute to nonprofits beside giving money?
Q5:  What platforms and technologies should companies leverage for charitable giving?

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed and on our new LinkedIn Discussion Group. So please join us share your questions, ideas and opinions.

We’ll see you on the stream!

(Editorial Note: Want to see the full recap of this week’s events? See “Good Works in the Workplace”)

Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons