Carrie Rich is the co-founder and CEO of The Global Good Fund. She’s also an adjunct faculty member at the George Washington University School of Nursing and the author of Sustainability for Healthcare Management. Follow her @mscarrierich.
Recently, YEC spoke with Carrie about her experiences networking and her advice for others aspiring to improve their own experience. Her best advice is below.
Connect With the People You Admire on LinkedIn
Identify people you admire and connect with them on LinkedIn. Research which professional groups they belong to on LinkedIn and request to join those groups. Joining the same professional groups as those you admire enables you to connect with esteemed colleagues in your field and exposes you to some of the articles, questions and professionals that the people you admire are exposed to.
Follow Up With New Connections
I can’t tell you the number of key networking connections I’ve met on planes, trains and even in the restroom! In each case, I learned what mattered to the other people and how they spend their time. Then, I determined how my work adds value to what they care about. The key is to follow up. I ask to exchange business cards and send a “nice to meet you” email within two days. In the weeks and months to come, I send articles I believe might interest the new contact and stay in touch with general updates that are relevant to their work.
It takes discipline not to talk about yourself, rather than to listen first instead. It takes discipline to add value to the other person’s work before asking for anything that benefits your work. And it takes discipline to follow up routinely.
I find that having another person make an introduction is usually the most memorable. People remember when a contact they trust puts his or her name behind you. It also lets you avoid having to intentionally seek out ways to be memorable, which tends to feel fake.
Arrive Early to Networking Events
The most effective networking situations are those events with dedicated time for networking. Networking takes time and requires interacting with people, so I try to show up early to events. Often, the most important people there (e.g. speakers or event organizers) are present early and will be rushed receiving other people at the end of the event, but not necessarily at the beginning.
Find the Best CRM System for Your Business or Organization
We use a CRM system at The Global Good Fund. Each time I meet someone new, I photograph their business card and ask our Director of Communications to input the information into the CRM system. I include handwritten notes on the card about where and how I met the individual and/or something memorable about the person.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
I went to a lunch meeting and was trying to maintain eye contact with the other person who was speaking. I leaned in to take a sip of my drink only to get the straw stuck in my nose. Not exactly the lasting impression I was hoping for — talk about a networking faux pas.