Don't go to networking events
If you ever Googled “how to network” one of the most common pieces is advice is to attend Meetup groups or events designed specifically for networking.
Don’t do this. These groups and events will mostly be attended by other people looking for a job or gig. The ratio of people that can help you to people that are asking for your help is low.
I’ve had the best success reaching out to individuals directly and either taking them out to coffee or drinks. Hopping on the phone is useful too.
If you are going to attend meetup groups, I’d avoid picking one targeted towards people trying to build a professional network. Pick something fun. I’m in a running club and have made some good friends in the club. They have put me in touch with a few people that have helped me professionally.
You can also choose a professional group that is designed to improve a professional skill-set. For example, there are a few Tableau user groups that have semi-regular meetings. If you use Tableau regularly in your job you can attend, learn and contribute, and potentially make some good long term connections.
Generally speaking, networking and relationship building should feel somewhat organic. While you can deliberately network, it shouldn’t feel forced.
If you have questions feel free to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can also add you to my informal mailing list in case I have updates or news or whatever.
This article is an excerpt from Chapter 7 (Method 2: How to Network Your Way to a 1099 Gig) of my book.
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