Networking offers tremendous opportunities, including employment. For 85% of jobs, specialists are found thanks to networking. Therefore, if you want to develop your career in UX design, and be the first to get access to exciting projects, then creating your own network is necessary. We will show you how to do this below.
Why Is Networking Needed
There are 4 major reasons:
1. Best projects. Finding an interesting job is not easy, as it is rarely seen on job sites. The best projects go to specialists who know the people concerned.
2. Professional growth. Networking allows you to meet idols and people who inspire you. That is an excellent opportunity to find a mentor and accelerate the development of your skills.
3. Keeping your finger on the pulse. Communication with professionals allows you to learn a lot of useful information. For example, trends, the relevance of specific solutions, or technological innovations.
4. Own platform. That is especially true for freelancers. Having an audience will never leave you without work. The development of our network is accompanied by the formation of a database of email addresses and other contacts. Do you have time to spare? It is enough to tell that you are ready to start working on a new project, and the proposal will definitely come.
Developing Communication Tactics
Preparing in advance can help reduce your fear of upcoming communication. It will become easier to maintain a conversation, make a good impression, and present yourself as a professional.
Define a goal
Before attending an event, decide what you want to get out of it. For example, meet three people. Even a simple goal will provide several benefits:
1. Controllability of the situation. Once at the event, you can get confused. However, if the goal is two contacts with people with whom you will then be able to drink coffee, then a plan emerges. It will probably take about ten conversations.
2. Change of point of view. A person feels more confident in attending an event with friends. That is a good option for a first visit. However, to build connections, you need to separate.
Networking is building relationships. Therefore, it is necessary to show interest in another person and look for a common language. The following recommendations will help with this:
1. Focus on them. Whether you are writing a letter or talking in person, it is always appropriate to ask about a company, a person, or his job.
2. Open questions. That is probably the best way to implement the previous recommendation. An open-ended question suggests a detailed answer. The person will be able to tell more. Let people talk about what they love, listen carefully, and they’ll like you.
3. Be concise. That is especially true for digital communication. Nobody wants to read long emails. Therefore, keep them short, specific, and understandable for the recipient. For example, you might write that you like what the company does. At the end of the letter, ask if you can be connected with someone who would share valuable experience.
Remember also that in networking, relationships are not always reciprocal. By forming your network, you are more likely to give. Therefore, decide in advance how you can be useful to another person. Find out the areas in which he is an expert. There is an opportunity to learn this. Also, indicate your knowledge that may be useful to a person. After all, networking is a professional relationship.
Your network may have many people, but it will not be sufficient. It is because deep relationships are precious. It is necessary to strive to create such. That will help:
1. Make a quarterly list of people with whom you want to deepen your relationship. Limit the number to, for example, six.
2. Meetings. They can even be held twice a quarter. You can meet in person or remotely. It is also worth considering in advance the topic to which you will devote the conversation.
3. Emails. Submit them once a month. Be short and to the point. For example, you can share an article that will be of interest to a person.
4. Social networks. Communication in them is good, especially if in moderation. Try to limit yourself to one interaction in 2 weeks. It is also essential to maintain your sanity. Sometimes a simple comment or like is enough for interaction.
In networking, it’s essential to present yourself correctly. Take care of your business cards and your portfolio site. And for your website to be reliable, you need to choose a quality hosting service. It will ensure the resource’s smooth operation and form a positive impression of you as a specialist.
Find the right people
Micro-communities on social media
That is a great place to start. Especially if, at the current moment, the thought of a personal conversation with a stranger is scary. Micro-communities are often dedicated to specific UX design issues, so you can study a particular topic in detail.
There are a lot of thematic communities. You can find groups that match your interests, the geography of coverage, and more. By joining them, you get the opportunity to interact with a considerable number of professionals without the need to experience social anxiety. On LinkedIn, you can join the UX Design Group. Slack has a UX Design Community, and Google Hangouts has a Designer group.
There is a huge choice here. You can start with local events that are organized in your city. Meetings are probably even announced on Facebook. Most of the events occur in big cities, so if you are from a small village, get ready to travel.
The advantage of attending such meetings is of great efficiency. First of all, because more personal contact is being established, plus, at the event, you see a real person and can determine if you are comfortable interacting with him. And most importantly, a colossal exchange of experience is taking place here. At the event, you can learn about all kinds of experience in companies and as an independent specialist.
There are also international class meetings. Including:
- Service jams.
There are many options. You just need to choose the right one. It can be done based on at least two things:
- Subject matter
Ask the speakers before attending the event. Perhaps one of them will be a person whose work inspires you. You can also build on the theme of the event. They are often dedicated to specific aspects of the industry. You might be able to find out more about the issue you are studying and get acquainted with experts in this area.
Breaking Down the Wall: Networking for Introverts
Networking is a scary word for many. If you experience discomfort when communicating with a stranger, then the following points will be relevant. Your network is part of your brand. It is necessary to work on its development. It’s also important to understand that many aspiring designers face the same concerns about networking.
I am an introvert and find it difficult to communicate
Many people face this, and this is normal. The good news is that you don’t have to build communication solely through face-to-face meetings. The digital age makes things easy. You can interact with people through social networks or email.
Networking is pretense
It all depends on you. If the purpose of communication is to obtain benefits, then communication will be superficial. However, networking is about building relationships. Like any others, they need to be developed. Show genuine interest in the other person, and the conversation will gain value.
I don’t want to be intrusive
First, a person voluntarily takes part in networking. Therefore, they also have their own interest. Secondly, you can always maintain a moderate distance. By communicating digitally, you are more likely not to be overly assertive. You don’t have to worry.
Networking is a thing that many people don’t like. However, millions of people today are already taking advantage of its benefits, being the first to gain access to the most valuable knowledge. You can feel the possibilities of networking. And the above recommendations will help with this.
About the author: this is the guest article by Oliver Smith, writer and editor that specializes in content related to digital marketing, SEO, SMM, eCommerce. Also, Oliver is a freelance guest post writer and an enthusiastic blogger helping B2B companies reach their audiences more effectively.
Title image from Clip pack on Ouch illustration library
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