Yvonne Pilon, Director of Programs and Communications – WEtech Alliance

WEtech Alliance

Yvonne offers the following tips for a successful and meaningful networking experience:

  1. Sit next to a stranger – Most people go to an event to meet new faces yet when they get there, the first thing they do is sit or talk with an old friend or colleague. Tip: Try sitting at a table full of strangers. Your odds of meeting new faces are very likely.
  1. Set goals – We set financial, personal and strategic goals so why not networking goals. Tip: Set a networking goal on how many people you’d like to meet this month or how many business cards you’d like to collect. 
  1. Get involved – One of the best ways to network is to get involved. This could mean volunteering or even getting involved in your local chamber of commerce, charity or sitting on a Board of Directors. TIP: Check out http://windsoressex.cioc.ca/volunteer/ for a list of Windsor-Essex volunteer opportunities.  
  1. Don’t forget your business cards –  Business cards are a great way to leave your name and personal brand behind. TIP: Even if you don’t have a business, get business cards printed anyway. The cost of printing is minimal compared to the opportunity of being remembered by a potential client or future employer. 
  1. Always follow-up – This is undoubtedly one of the most important elements of networking. TIP: When networking with a potential client, make note of the conversation and try to create a follow-up opportunity. When following-up, send an e-mail, a personalized note or even better pick-up the phone.
  1. Get LinkedIn – LinkedIn is like Facebook but for professionals. TIP: Sign-up for a free LinkedIn account. This is a great way to connect with your colleagues and professional contacts. Additionally, LinkedIn provides you with the opportunity to join other community networking groups.