4 Tips On How To Up Your Networking Game
If you head down to River Street, you’ll find Top Deck, a sophisticated rooftop bar, perfectly perched atop a privately-owned boutique hotel. Glass windows overlook the picturesque Savannah River, allowing for prime sunset views as the ships go by and the entire bar has a “ship-like” feel to it, featuring exquisite natural hardwood floors, custom-made tables and a wine cellar crafted from recycled wine bottles. Locals and tourists, alike, flock to this nautical-chic venue that prides itself on its unique cocktails and reimagined, healthy take on your bar food favorites. A prime location for traveling professionals and business owners to connect with others in the area, Top Deck offers both indoor and outdoor seating options, along with a 40-seat bar, which makes conversation and networking a breeze.
We spoke with Chantal Gloor, Director of Operations at Top Deck, to discuss her four best tips on how to network like a pro, no matter how experienced you currently are! Read on to see how you can integrate Chantal’s advice into becoming an established aspect of your own current career growth practices.
1. Order professional headshots.
Investing in yourself really helps individuals establish their own personal brand, which is especially important when first entering your career. Headshots are no exception; they are part of this investment, as they will help people to recognize you for what you do. Look for a professional photographer who specializes in this aspect of photography, and be sure to wear an outfit that you feel represents your best, professional self!
Photograph by Blake Crosby.
Team South tip: Blake Crosby, one of South magazine's trusted photographers, suggests you get your headshots updated every few years so people won't expect a younger version of yourself when they meet you. Don your finest suit and tie or professional blazer with a skirt, and get ready to smile! In all, the photo shoot will be a relatively quick process and is well worth the money.
2. Always have business/contact cards with you.
On this note, make sure to include some white space with extra room on your cards where you can jot down some quick notes about what you discussed and what you took away from the conversation. This will really help when following up with a person after an event because you’ve most likely met many other professionals you’d like to keep in contact with, too. This will make it easier to keep track of everyone.
Team South tip: Looking for new business cards that will fulfill your professional needs? Creative Approach, a local company founded by SCAD alumni is your best bet! Once you have your new cards, take the #TeamSouth Challenge: bring 10 your own business cards to a networking event and challenge yourself to leave with 10 new ones.
3. Traveling is the perfect opportunity to build your network.
When you travel, make sure to remember that you are still in charge of representing your personal brand as a professional. Maintaining this mindset is critical; in fact, it is surprisingly even easier to break out of your comfort zone and talk to other people when you’re by yourself than it is to do when you’re surrounded by friends!
Photos from the July Martini's at the Mansion event supporting the Rape Crisis Center. Click here to view the Scenes gallery for July's event!
Team South tip: If you're in the Savannah area, be sure to check out our monthly Martinis at the Mansion events to meet other visiting/local professionals. Each month features a different charity to support, so you'll be sure to meet an entirely new crowd every time!
4. Carry a notebook with you wherever you go.
This is a biggie when it comes to retaining important information. You actually remember things better when you write them down by hand than if you were type it on a tablet or your phone! So when it comes to jotting down your checklist, make sure to grab your old-school pen and paper. Having this space to keep track of your to-do’s will allow you to focus on solely one task at a time; to finish projects and meet deadlines it is essential to dedicate the time and have discipline – multitasking is your enemy, here. Writing it all down makes sure you don’t begin a new project before checking off an old one.
Team South tip: While you're networking, keep your phone in your pocket either on vibrate or silent; this shows the other person that your conversation is of the utmost importance to you. Don't let a disruption ruin your possibly life-changing connections. Then, later on at a more appropriate time, you can use technology to your advantage to send them a follow up email and connect with them on LinkedIn, which you'll want to keep updated at all times.
Ultimately, Chantal believes these are the three cardinals rules to success: “Be yourself, be professional in all settings and keep it classy.” We certainly agree, Chantal!