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How do professionals expand their professional networks offline?

Roger Frederick's Profile

Answers

Topic Expert
Mark Richards
Title: VP of Finance & Operations
Company: RBA Consulting
(VP of Finance & Operations, RBA Consulting) |

Roger,

First, you start with the end in mind - what do you want to accomplish through your networking. It's not really complicated, what's the area and objective:

a) Professional development - learn more about Oil & Gas industry
b) Expand your network in a given area - expand network within CMOs
c) Job opportunities/Career move - CFO at private equity firm

Second, jot down 2-3 people for each objective who would be good starting point to begin your networking. This is where LinkedIn can help you find people.
- For example, for (a) above for Prof Development in the Oil & Gas
- Do a LinkedIn search on Oil & Gas companies to see which of your connections can help you

Third, work to get introductions into the people you want to meet
- Use your existing network to help you
- Much more likely to get a meeting with a referral

Fourth, I like to use e-mail to invite people to meet
- The goal of the e-mail is to get them to take a meeting, not to fully understand what you want to accomplish
- See below for a link to an e-mail template to set up a networking meeting.

Fifth, get prepared to meet
- Establish the commitment you seek from each meeting (information, connections, etc.) - below is a checklist and blog post on where value is created in networking.

You can also do 'general' networking with local groups (professional, school, national associations). These are good for meeting people and general expansion of your network - these are easier to do and can be used to find people that you want to meet with 1-on-1.

Lastly, always practice the 80% rule of networking. That 80% of your networking should be focused on the other person. If you want to receive, you need to give. Networking is an investment in your career and is built over time by establishing a strong reputation of someone who practices mutual networking.

Hopefully this helps you get underway.

Regards,

Mark

E-MAIL TEMPLATE
https://www.proformative.com/resources/e-mail-template-setting-up-networking-meeting

NETWORKING MEETING CHECKLIST
https://www.proformative.com/resources/networking-tools-networking-meeting-checklist

WHERE IS VALUE CREATED IN NETWORKING
https://www.proformative.com/blogs/mark-richards/2012/07/09/where-value-created-networking

Pat Krueger
Title: CFO
Company: PMK Strategies and Accounting Services, ..
(CFO, PMK Strategies and Accounting Services, LLC) |

Another way to increase your networking capacity is to look for local conferences in your career area. Do not look for these to simply attend, but contact the organizing agency and see if they need subject matter experts to make presentations, or sit on panel discussions. Sometimes it is difficult to locate a diversity of presenters, and although it will take work on your part, you will have people networking with you. Plus, you may be able to attend the rest of the conference, and network in that way. In addition, as you participate in more conferences, you may get invited to participate in out of town conferences.

Topic Expert
Mark Richards
Title: VP of Finance & Operations
Company: RBA Consulting
(VP of Finance & Operations, RBA Consulting) |

Pat - This is an excellent point. I would also recommend to find a member who can escort you around and make introductions. Usually people who attend these know one another and tend to spend networking time catching up - so it can be hard to break into their discussions. So having a well-known person in the group to guide you really helps.

Mark

James Press
Title: Corporate Controller
Company: Magnum Semiconductor, Inc.
(Corporate Controller, Magnum Semiconductor, Inc.) |

Call your Key network when you DON'T need them to check in. While this does not expand new ones it solidifies the critical ones you have. It's easy to call when you need help but I always appreciate a "just checking in".

I always found seminars to be an excellent resource to make professional friends. Only need one per seminar and it adds up. I seldom see anyone really making an effort to get to know the other person well enough to comfortably call. Exchange of business cards is a no brainer but it's generally for the file or a sales call follow up.

Regards
jim

Mark Matheny
Title: VP - FInancial Planning and Analysis
Company: Novolex (formerly Hilex Poly)
(VP - FInancial Planning and Analysis, Novolex (formerly Hilex Poly)) |

There are many opportunities to expand your network by joining community organizations. Pretty much anywhere you meet people (PTA, church, Kiwanis) is an opportunity to meet and connect.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

Volunteer work, especially as a Board member is also a double-edged great way (you network and provide a community based service).

Topic Expert
Mark Richards
Title: VP of Finance & Operations
Company: RBA Consulting
(VP of Finance & Operations, RBA Consulting) |

One more add for attending large networking meetings - making sure their is a buyer for your pitch.

https://www.proformative.com/blogs/mark-richards/2010/11/24/large-networking-meetings-%E2%80%93-there-buyer-your-pitch

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