This is especially true for introverts like me. Because my job requires me to network, I’ve had to learn how, mostly through trial and error. Now that I’m in the middle of the life science ecosystem, I think the lessons are even more poignant for life science CEOs, scientists, and other shy people…of which there are many.
I don’t claim to be any kind of expert, just a practitioner. Having said that, here are some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way. I hope you find some of them familiar and some useful. It takes an investment of time and energy…every single day over many years…to build a robust network.
- Establish a relationship and build trust before you work or do business with someone.
- Everybody hates making cold calls. So, make them warm calls.
- Do you feel that meeting strangers is very scary? Remember, the other person might be as terrified as you are!
- Did you ever have to “work the crowded room?” Try using an ice breaker to open the dialog. And how about asking everyone the same question and turn networking into a mini-research project?
- Surround yourself with smarter people and be curious. You become interesting if you are genuinely interested in the other person.
- Young relationships grow up and you never know where they will end up.
- Did you ever wonder “will they remember me?” Guess what, if you remember them, they will remember you. And if they don’t, they will never admit it!
- Arrive bearing gifts. It’s no secret, it’s better to give before you get. Give with no expectation of getting anything back.
- Keep new relationships fresh. If you meet someone, send a follow-up note.
- Send something out of the blue to an old relationship even if it’s been over 10 years. I’m still in touch with a few kids from kindergarten!
- As promised, here’s one extra tip: think metrics! Give yourself a Networking Quota. It could be 1 contact per week, 5 contacts per day, 1 per month…whatever works for you. It’s all about having interactions and staying top-of-mind but not annoying.
If you’d like to discuss these networking tips, you’d like to network, or you’d like to learn more about CLA Life Sciences please contact us. We’re here to serve. CLA is committed to creating opportunities for our clients, our people, and our communities. We’re one family, working together, to provide those opportunities.