Networking as a consultant can seem daunting, however maintaining your contacts and relationships is important to staying up-to-date on your skills, promoting you as a brand, and looking for your next gig. Change your perspective on networking by reaching out to closer contacts first, like your professional friends and then move on to those who you would like to know better because of their experience or focus.
Plus, when you and your counterpart meet, you can get some innovative ideas brewing, problem-solve specific issues one of you is having and create positive energy that comes back to you later down the road.
Here are a few things that I’ve learned about networking as a consultant and how I enjoy practicing it more regularly:
- Update your LinkedIn profile weekly.
Either link to someone new, update your profile with your latest work or connect with someone in your network. Small things make a difference.
- Make new friends but keep the old.
This was a saying we heard as kids, and it holds true with networking. Set a weekly goal to connect with someone in your existing LinkedIn network or other way to track contacts by email, phone or my favorite, in person. Keep things light and remember a past work project you had working with them to spark the conversation.
- Speak up.
Don’t be shy about what you are looking for. Sometimes it surprisingly happens sooner than you think it would. This has happened to me in more than one instance and it really does work.
Have your own ideas to add? Post a comment to keep more of us motivated to initiate great conversations this year!