A lot of us have extremely busy schedules, with a million things to do and not enough time to do. It’s really unfortunate when a busy day isn’t as productive as it can be because of other people not respecting your valuable time, but thankfully there are some ways to get around others’ unprofessionalism. Here are five ways to network like a pro.
1. Associate With The Kinds Of People Who Won’t Waste Your Time
Value people who respect your time as much as you respect your time. Surround yourself with co-workers who are as timely as you are and understand the demands of a busy schedule. Too many are quick to idle around and slow to actually do the work. You need to weed those people out. To network like a pro actually network with true professionals who understand the importance of not wasting time and truly want to get things done.
2. Schedule The Meetings
Don’t leave the time of the meeting up to chance except in very irregular circumstances. People need to hear that the meeting is definitively at 3pm, because if the time is more up in the air a lot of your co-workers will only start ambling in at half past three. That’s a half hour you just lost because of poor scheduling. Network like a pro by nailing down a specific date and time for all of your meetings, or you’ll regret it later. You can schedule by making a phone call or two, sending a personal card to everyone you want to come to your meeting or digitally through email or a LinkedIn group.
3. Never Eat Alone
You may like quiet time in the middle of the day, but you should be aware that the lunch hour can be a great chance to get extra work done. Schedule work lunches with other professionals so that you can get some quality networking time in with them. If it’s someone you’re working on a project with, you can hash out details and coordinate schedules with them. If it’s someone in your department, you can discuss collaborating in the future. If it’s someone in another department you can discuss how to increase synergy between their’s and yours. It can even be a lunch with your office custodian or someone similar so you can show them some rare appreciation. The opportunities are endless, making lunch an opportune time to network like a pro.
4. Host A Video Conference
It’s a lot easier to get people in front of their computer cameras at a designated hour than it is to get all of them into a room at the same time. Utilize web tools like Skype and Google Hangout to communicate with people who are as far as a continent away or even with people who are as close as a 5 minute’s drive away. For both groups, a video conference is the most convenient option. Communicating through services such as Skype or Google Hangout is a vital way to network like a pro.
5. Give Positive Feedback And Ideas
To be efficient you need to provide truly valuable feedback, not something you thought of five minutes before the meeting started. Spend a reasonable amount of time thinking about suggestions or ideas you’ll present at the meeting. It helps to create a document or slideshow presentation, even if you have no plans to actually present either of those at your conference. Hopefully, if you consistently offer strong ideas and good feedback at your meetings, others will offer you the same courtesy. The less stupid questions or half-baked ideas in the meeting, the less time everyone wastes. To network like a pro be sure to prepare thoroughly for your meetings.
Featured photo credit: Cydcor Offices via flickr.com