BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Networking is an important skill to have when searching for a job or expanding your connections. Sherrie Barr Mack owns the MackBarr Group and says she is constantly networking to meet new people and gain new opportunities.
It's important to be natural, Barr Mack said. Whether that's at a networking event or just talking to someone at a retail store, it's important to be yourself.
Her steps to great networking:
1. Smile and say hello. It can be that simple to start the conversation.
2. Ask them about themselves. You can get to know them and can continue the conversation.
3. Exchange numbers
4. Exchange business cards and follow up!
- Pro tip: write a note on the back of the card
5. Barr Mack even takes a selfie with people to be memorable but to also remember that person.
Barr Mack says when you are at an event start in the middle of the room and work your way around. "I strategically look in the room and I say you know what, I am either going to walk in a straight angle or come to the side but somehow I am going to end up in the middle of the room," Barr Mack said.
The best piece of advice Barr Mack gives it to always follow up. "If you do not follow up in the first 48 hours you're a distance memory for them," Barr Mack said. "It's really about following up and keeping in contact."
Before you go into a networking event, Barr Mack recommends:
-Get there early
-Be prepared with business cards
-Bring a pen
-Bring tiny breath mints to have on you
As for online networking, Barr Mack says it's a great tool for people to use but people should also meet others face to face. "Don't just add people, connect with them develop a rapport with them and then you will find that your network will grow," Barr Mack said. "Don't let people just be a face or a name on your page develop a rapport with them."
To find networking events, Barr Mack suggests using Eventbrite, or even googling "Events going on in Buffalo". Social media is also a tool she uses to find networking events.