The topic presented at this month’s professional development meeting was how to make networking easy, or at least a bit easier for technical communicators. From the perspective of an IT practice leader, HR manager, and independent contractor the presenters guided the talk around three phases; breaking the ice, making the connection and following up.
Breaking the ice can be a creative process. I think it can work by verbalizing thoughtful observations. “I like your umbrella; nothing says dreary like the colour orange.”
Making the connection is overcoming a personal inhibition. It’s about starting a conversation and relating what you do. If your elevator pitch elicits dead air then it’s an opportunity to turn the conversation back to the listener. Who doesn’t like to talk about their day?
Following up is what gets you remembered. Don’t hesitate to send a link to an article for your new connection. Also, reinforce why you want to network with that person. “I came for the free coffee. Who knew I’d meet the coffee roaster.”
If breaking the ice just got a bit easier come say Hi to me at the next Meetup.