Never has the circulation of information been faster. At the touch of a screen which can be as small as the palm of a hand, we have access to information on a scale never been seen before. We can also share data about ourselves and others in a nano second whether it’s an update on our relationship status (Facebook), the meal we’re about to eat (Twitter) a photo of a view or people we’re with (Instagram) an article we’ve read (LinkedIn) or even our own resumés.
Now we can use technology to network more effectively.
There are many, particularly in the older demographics, who still turn their noses up at the new social media platforms, associating them with lowest common denominator activities rather than an opportunity to network effectively. This is not entirely disconnected to intellectual arrogance as well as ignorance. I do agree that reading about people’s lunch choices is only marginally more interesting than watching paint dry unless of course you are a foodie or a restaurant critic. However, there are times when technology can enhance tried and trusted methodologies and even bail us out if we’ve screwed up. It certainly adds a new dimension to networking opportunities.
A spontaneous request for a CV
Old school – request business card and email resumé at next possible opportunity.
New options (with permission) –
- Option 1 keep a copy of your resumé on your smart phone or tablet. Send it immediately to the person requesting the document.
- Option 2 send a LinkedIn connection invitation on the spot from smart phone or iPad.
Forgotten or run out of business cards
Old school – panic, cringe with embarrassment, miss opportunities, write on beer mat, ask for their card and contact by email later.
- Option 1: keep a photo of your own card on your phone or iPad. Send immediately.
- Option 2 : the Evernote app is a business card reader which replaces the app launched by LinkedIn. All you do is take a photo of your contact’s business card and it will automatically upload the business card details to your phone so you can make a connection with a potential connection in seconds. This process is better on an iPhone than iPad where it has had mixed reviews for layout. You can also use Bump another business card reading app which allows two mobile phones to “bump” together to exchange “digits”.
- Option 4: Put number directly onto their phone.
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Don’t know anyone at an event
Old School – feel uncomfortable, hang out with friends, get cornered by event bore, try to break into a group of ” cool” people and fail. Get despondent go home!
New options –
- Option 1: check out other participants on LinkedIn and connect before event and arrange to meet. If the organisations aren’t listing who is attending then the event is probably run by old schoolers
- Option 2: If you are attending an industry event or social function, Foursquare is a location locater tool that allows you to find out who visiting the same place as you. Alert your network and share your coordinates so you become visible and contactable to potential network connections.
- Option 3: many conferences and events have mobile apps to facilitate event networking and interaction while you are there.
- Option 4: post your attendance at the event on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter! Some registration platforms (EventBrite) encourage participants to post on Facebook as part of their marketing. Let your network know you will be there. Many organisers issue event hashtags so that information on the event can be shared and tracked.
Whether this will lead to the predicted demise of the business card the pundits are still at loggerheads. In my book there is no need for it to be an either/or situation. There is a place for both traditional and more hi-tech methodologies and if used effectively they can be complementary techniques.
What other hi-tech tips can you share to supplement traditional networking?
Great tips! I appreciate others tapping into the importance of mobile devices for networking. You have all the information someone might need right on a device in your hand–why hand over a paper card that will get lost or forgotten?
Thanks! Yes it adds a new dimension. I especially like event apps. Makes a wonderful addition to the networking tool box!
Very good post, Dorothy. Succinct and yet loaded with great suggestions. On the business side, there is an App called “Bump” that actually allows two smart phone users to “bump” their phones and automatically exchange contacts. On the non-business side, (and, as an avid foodie) I wouldn’t completely agree with your comment that “reading about people’s lunch choices is only marginally more interesting than watching paint dry”. There is an App that takes the concept one step further and makes it practical and very useful: Foodspotting. It’s like the App “Around Me” or Foursquare where you can check in and post a photo of what you are eating. When I’m looking for a restaurant in an area that I’m not familiar with, it’s a great tool. I can easily see the food and if it looks edible and tasty. Of course, look and taste can be different and that’s why there are reviews also linked to the photos! Like Twitter, I can “follow” people. Great way to meet the gourmands in a neighborhood, too.
Megan – great suggestion ref Bump – I have read about it but never seen it in action! Point taken about food – maybe I should be more open minded!
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