Last Thursday, we hosted our first professional development panel discussion around the topic of networking in the digital age. The panelists and moderator discussed networking strategies and tools that will help any professional make new connections regardless of their age or industry. We talked about the definition of networking, common mistakes people make when networking and talked about how to craft the perfect follow-up email. Tony Martinez, Claudia Mora and Rafael Balbi, Jr. all gave us examples of when networking paid off for them and resulted in business relationships and opportunities.
The conversation included a lot of laughs and candid moments. The discussion got interesting as we dove into the topic of social media and using Twitter and Gmail to spark conversations and build lasting relationships. Rafael described himself as a “master emailer” describing it as an important skill set. He encouraged the audience to consciously build a professional online presence so that their reputation preceded them. Tony reminded us that social media is an extension of you and an important part of your personal brand. Claudia shared how she takes 10 minutes each week to scroll through the contacts in her phone to reach out to people she may have lost touch with. There was so much insight shared, but we were able to condense it down into a list of top tools you need to succeed at networking in the digital age.
Yesware is an email tool for those who want to be able to track their gmail messages and see who opens their emails. Salespeople often use a customer relationship management system to track their leads and sales, now you can use this to track who opens your emails, who you need to follow up with and who might have missed an important message.
Sometimes we are up late responding to emails and by the time our contact gets to their inbox, our message is buried below the other messages they have gotten that day. Boomerang allows you to schedule emails, replies and follow-ups, so you can reach their inbox when you need to.
Rapportive is another tool for Gmail that helps you build relationships across platforms. It allow you to see your contact’s other social profiles, their location and more. This makes it easy to find them other places online and learn about what they are up to. Insight like this helps you be more relateable when crafting an email and touching base.
Other tools we discussed included:
Put your networking skills to the test at our next LANSU event: Speed Networking on November 21st.