The DO’s and DON’Ts of Informal Networking
Networking events, social profiles, and company hosted events are a great way to start your networking journey, but there are also several informal ways to network that could be beneficial.
Informal networking can include several different things including, grabbing coffee with existing contacts or new contacts, attending company parties, going to lunch with contacts, and meeting a group of coworkers after a long day at work. This type of networking allows for a more relaxed environment that could help reduce the normal networking stresses. Business casual dress is usually accepted and casual conversations can lead to a better understanding of your contacts outside of the normal professional environment. Below is a list of DO’s that apply to informal networking:
DO look for different meet up spots.
DO make conversation a two way street.
DO leave a way to follow up, either on social sites or exchange emails.
DO put yourself out there and just say hello
Meeting up with those who have similar interests, are in the same organization, frequent the same spots, and even those you connect with some other way are forms of informal networking. If you want more tips on things to do in informal networking situations, click this link that will take you to 10 simple tips for informal networking!
The Dont’s of Informal Networking and what to do instead
Even though informal networking can be more casual, that does not mean there shouldn't be any professionalism involved. Below are some tips on what NOT to do during informal networking:
DON’T be aggressive.
INSTEAD be friendly and memorable.
INSTEAD dress for the occasion.
DON’T try to sell yourself.
INSTEAD make a friend.
While it is important to make a good impression, especially if it is a first time meeting, overselling yourself can have the reverse effect. Coming on to aggressive can turn an informal meeting into a formal one. If you’re meeting for coffee or outside of the professional setting, aggression can be off putting to your contact. Informal networking is less structured than formal networking, so keep it casual, but do not cross over the line into inappropriate or uncomfortable subjects. Try to keep the conversation friendly, flowing, and appropriate to the different settings. Remember this is not work, this is a chance to meet or expand upon those contacts you have and find common interests that benefit both parties. To read more about these DON’Ts click here!
INFORMAL NETWORKING: PLACES TO START
EVENTBRITE: This website has several listings of different events near you that you can meet up with people outside of the formal setting. Click here to visit Eventbrite site!
BOOTCAMPS: Different companies, professions, and fields may offer online or retreats. These are hosted for professionals to learn skills, certifications, and network with contacts with similar interests!
VOLUNTEERING: These are great opportunities not only to put on your resume, but to meet other professionals. Click here for a list of possible volunteer opportunities!