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Successful Online Networking for Innovation.
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Welcome to F-Stop: Faulkner Strategic Consulting's monthly eNewsletter

For many people, networking is critical for professional and/or business development and online networking is a huge component. By “online networking”, I don’t mean seeing how many LinkedIn connections you can get, “liking” lots of other people’s posts, or having accounts on every new social media channel that launches; I’m talking quality over quantity.

Below are five tips to help you make the most of online networking.

If you prefer, go straight to the full article here.
  1. Start local. When you’re getting started with online networking, connecting with people in your own backyard first has its advantages: people may be more likely to connect with you if you’re local, you have a better shot at getting a face-to-face meeting, and building a solid network locally helps establish quality connections to build from later.
 
  1. Find a personal connection or shared point of reference. When seeking out people to connect with, start with what you may have in common—for example, alma mater, previous employers, organizations, volunteering, etc. Referencing whatever common ground you may have with a prospect helps instantly build rapport and give them a reason to connect with you. 
 
  1. Why this person? When reaching out to someone you don’t yet know, it’s very important to have a clear reason why you want to meet this specific person and communicate that. For example, if you are considering a career move from a large company to a startup and you identify someone who followed a similar career path, lives locally, and shares your passion for great user experience—share that with your prospective contact and they’ll understand why you want to speak to them and be more likely to want to help.
 
  1. What specifically are you asking for? It’s a good practice to put some thought behind this question before any meeting, but particularly when you’re asking to meet with a new contact. This helps you clearly structure the request and gives the prospect a distinct idea of what you’re looking for and if/how they can help. When contacting, state as specifically as you can what you would like to learn or discuss or anything else you’re hoping to get out of the connection.
 
  1. Ask for the meeting. Just connecting with someone on LinkedIn does not automatically a valuable contact make. If there’s someone you want to learn from, get help from or otherwise has something you want, you must actually talk to the person, preferably face-to-face (or via video chat if needed).  Don't be afraid to ask and you’ll be pleasantly surprised how often people will say yes.
 
When you do write that first note, here are a few more tips for success: use their professional email address whenever possible; use a “friendly formal” tone—sound like you’re an actual human (vs. a generic script), but keep it professional; and finally, follow-up! If you don’t get a response the first time, try at least two more times before giving up (people get busy, emails get buried) with a week or so between. 
 

The above is a shortened version--read the full article here.
 
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Thanks for reading this month's issue of F-Stop. Previous issues of F-Stop are available for download here. Feedback is always welcome and please feel free to share with friends and colleagues! 

Sarah Faulkner
Principal, Faulkner Strategic Consulting

 

Faulkner Strategic Consulting is dedicated to innovation that grows brands, driven by deep consumer and market insights.  

*Why F-Stop? In photography, F-Stop is a measure of lens speed which controls the brightness, or illuminance, of the scene. These concepts are central to innovation as well. The goal of F-Stop is to provide resources, information, and inspiration to illuminate and accelerate innovation.
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