15 Tips for Effective Networking in the UN Community
Business networking is the procedure of meeting others to exchange information, make new professional contacts, and create useful relationships. These relationships are helpful when you are looking for a new job, to develop your skills, or to increase your industry knowledge. You can connect with someone who works in the same field or company you’re interested in, or who could provide you with a reference or client in the future. Knowing how to network professionally will make it easier and faster for you to form invaluable connections.
1. Talk to new people at networking events
Take full benefit of a networking event by meeting as many new people as you can. Making new contacts can expand your network and increase your chances of receiving a new chance.
When you attend a new event, attempt to greet five new people per hour, so you can spend about 10 minutes talking to each person. During that time, you can converse about basic topics, such as your professions or hobbies, to see if you can create a common connection.
2. Finding a harmony in conversation
Talking about yourself can be tough and feel awkward, but in networking, it’s absolutely essential that you let the other person know why they are an important connection for you and why you’re an important connection for them. Don’t brag, but do emphasize some of the major achievements you’ve had in your academics and/or job. Tell them how you got interested in your field and the steps you took to get where you are. It’s significant to establish credibility by showing that you share interests and that you know what you’re talking about and won’t be wasting their time. Be sure, though, that when you talk about your achievements and work you’re truthful and humble, giving credit to anyone who was implicated along the way.
It’s also significant that you ask questions about the other person. Show genuine interest in their work, their interests, and their backstory. Ask them questions that show that you want to learn from them and can benefit from hearing about their experience. If you’re not great at asking questions, you can simply ask them questions they ask you or questions that you would want to be asked yourself. Give them the chance to highlight their achievements and listen actively to engage with them and show you’re really listening and curious.
3. Participate in new occasions
You may tend to go to the same type of networking events where you already know many of the attendees. However, it may be beneficial to attend other events, where you can meet new people and diversify your interests.
There are many sources online for discovering new networking events. Your local community might have a social media page that advertises various functions near you. If you attended college, there might be a university alumni website that lists potential networking events.
4. Don’t go empty-handed, directly or figuratively.
Anytime you’re going to potentially be networking, ensure you have business cards on hand. If you’re looking for jobs, take business cards and resumes, just in case. Even if that person doesn’t have a direct connection to a job, they may be able to pass your information on to someone else. Plus, coming armed with your contact cards illustrates that you’re professional and think ahead.
Additionally, doing your research on the person you’re meeting, the organization they work for, etc. can help in being able to relate your own work to what they’re doing. It can also assist you in coming up with specific questions ahead of time so you know where you want to direct the conversation. You don’t need to know everything about the other person, but it’s always pleasing to know some basics about their workplace and some of their major accomplishments. In general, this information is easy to find on the internet with a simple search or by looking through the organization’s website, including their staff bios and news articles, if possible.
5 . Create genuine connections
Networking often implicates talking to different people at an event. Creating several quality connections may be more beneficial than committing to multiple quick conversations since you are more likely to create a lasting impression during a longer, more meaningful discussion. If you are at a networking event and feel that you may be able to form a valuable connection with someone, try to find shared goals and interests that could extend the conversation.
6. Take benefit of possibilities that can lead to networking.
Go to occasions; volunteer for community outreach opportunities; invite your professors and coworkers to coffee to find out about their experiences and insights. College, grad school, and entry-level jobs offer some of the best opportunities to network with other professionals, build your contacts, and learn from others in the field. Generally, these events are ideal places to exchange contact information to set up a one-on-one meeting later on (in other words, take business cards!).
Going to events for your organization or in your city can also show other professionals that you’re passionate about your work, that you want to learn more and connect with others, and that you’re willing to get involved. One of the best ways to network is to show up and be seen. Others will begin to know who you are and what you do, connecting you to more opportunities to work with the human rights issues that you’re passionate about and connecting you to more professionals in the field who can help you along the way.
7. Bring a remarkable business card
Most people who attend a networking event will bring business cards to exchange. Many business cards are the same size and follow the same color scheme and format. To stand out, you might regard creating unique business cards that relate to your industry. For example, if you are a photographer, you could design your business cards to look like a camera or incorporate samples of your work on the back. A creative business card may make people more inclined to connect with you again after the event.
8. Use social media wisely and to your benefit.
Social media can be an extremely helpful tool for networking, whether it’s through LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, or even Twitter. Follow accounts that are connected to your work, and use these sites to keep up with some of the big organizations in human rights issues. LinkedIn can be confusing to use, but one of the best ways to use it in networking is to see who your contacts’ contacts are. You can easily see who your friends and coworkers are related to and use that information to ask them to introduce you to someone else in the field and make that networking connection.
Twitter and Instagram can also be helpful for connecting to professionals and organizations in your field—simply follow their accounts if they have them. These platforms can also be a way for people you’re networking with to get a sense of what you’re interested in, so ensure that you post interesting, relevant, and edited posts. These sites can help build a repertoire and create a “brand” for yourself, which is useful in networking, especially when you’re applying for jobs. Social media can be a useful way to find out who your friends and coworkers are connected to, to show off your interests and skills, and to follow along with other professionals in your field who could be potential networks.
9. Be confident
Being self-assured during a networking event can assist you in successfully navigating the occasion and creating more useful connections. When preparing for a networking event, rehearse answers to common questions you might encounter when you speak to new people, such as, “Tell me about yourself,” or “How long have you been in the industry?” Having an answer ready will ensure your delivery is smooth.
During the event, initiate conversations with others, offer a firm handshake if appropriate, stand up straight, and maintain eye contact throughout the conversation. These forms of nonverbal communication show your confidence and can make it easier to keep a conversation.
10. Be useful to others, rather than competitive.
Because of limited job chances and the difficulty of breaking into human rights careers, professionals in this field can tend toward competitiveness. However, an overlooked aspect of networking could be offering help from your own knowledge and background, instead of holding back. This will help make you a valuable asset to those in your network, and it can lead to natural connections outside of your circle through recommendations.
Human rights is a field that tries to encourage collaboration and cooperation because they often lead to improved programming, research, and policies. By displaying that you are willing to help coworkers and people in your network, you can gain a reputation for professionalism, expertise, and character, which are all useful in expanding your network, especially during job searches.
11. Stay connected
Once you have a new relationship, it is significant to continue to build and strengthen the foundation. You can call, text, or email a new contact a few days after the networking event to express your pleasure in meeting them. Make an offer to meet with them at a specific time to continue your conversation about a shared interest. Try to reconnect with them every few months by emailing an interesting article or industry-related news.
If you connected with a potential employer during a hiring event, follow up shortly afterward to collect additional information about the interview process. You can send an email to thank them for their time and attach your resume and cover letter to show your initiative.
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12. Help others in your network
Part of networking is providing help to your connections, which can show you are generous and dependable. Contacts may be more likely to reciprocate your generosity by suggesting you for an opportunity that matches your qualifications.
When communicating with people in your network, actively listen to them to decide if they need assistance in finding a new job or growing their client base. You may be able to help them by acting as a reference or providing them with contact information for a hiring manager or potential customer.
13. Revisit older connections
When you network, you will create varying levels of relationships based on common interests and destinations. In some instances, you may communicate infrequently with people you do not share a strong connection with. Keeping your connections is an important part of networking, since you may be able to provide each other with valuable industry information, such as job openings or client referrals.
To keep an open line of communication, contact those in your network you haven’t spoken to in a few months. You can ask for updates on their career or if they’d like to meet in person to reconnect.
14. Find new connections online
While many people professionally network in person, you can also find new connections online. Connecting with people online can aid you in creating a larger and more expansive network. If you have a professional profile on a social media platform, you could set a plan to add five new people each week. You could add people such as colleagues in other departments or individuals you met during in-person networking events.
It can also be helpful to try to connect to experts in your field. If the expert posts content regularly, you may learn valuable information that you can apply to your work. If you want to make a more personal connection, try sending them a private message with a question that relates to your industry or a comment about how you admire their work.
15. Form your own networking group
When you form connections at an event, try inviting a small group to meet again at a later date. Regarding planning interactive activities that can aid people feel more comfortable creating conversation. Forming your own networking group can help you develop closer relationships with individuals and create potential opportunities.
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