The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce and Emerging Leaders of Tampa Bay recently hosted a joint After 5 networking event at Bristol-Myers Squibb. The exclusive After 5 events hosted bi-monthly are usually by invite only for our top tier members. However, the Emerging Leaders of Tampa Bay members who work at Bristol-Myers Squibb saw this as an opportunity for up-and-coming leaders and established business professionals to network and make new contacts, which is exactly what happened. The After 5 event brought together over 200 people from the Tampa business community, and both the Chamber and Emerging Leaders of Tampa Bay members walked away with new perspectives and connections.
By Kelsey Curls, Communications Intern
Ever wondered what makes networking such an art form? Some could define networking as a job, others a challenge, some even an exciting new way to get their personality known by others. In fact, networking is both a science and an art form that should ultimately be a fun, exciting and a rewarding approach to career and professional advancement. The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce is a great place for all your networking needs!
According to Forbes, “networking is a demanding process that allows you to test your ideas, refine your ability to communicate and improve your executive presence.” Networking as an art form, requires 100% commitment and contains necessary steps in branding yourself in the best ability.
- Observation is key. When you are at a networking event, observe others around you and be aware of what works best for you and what doesn’t.
- Preparing yourself, you must always be ready. Elevator speeches still matter, always be prepared for a number of instances. Engaging with new people requires quick answers, ready responses and reactions to different conversations you will encounter.
- Take notes while you network, there is always room for improvement.
- Ask non-traditional questions. Make yourself stand out from other networkers in the room by asking questions people wouldn’t expect.
- Challenge yourself and make your intentions clear. When you are reaching out to someone, make the time count and make the most out of the conversation you have by telling them exactly what you are looking for!
- Repetition is very important. Attending networking events repetitively is the best way to make new connections. Attending just one event is not going to build the relationships that could help further your career.
- Use social media strategically! LinkedIn can be the answer to all your networking needs. After meeting new people, reach out to them on LinkedIn and connect!
- The most important step in networking is following up. Receiving and giving a business card are crucial steps, as well as sending an email or placing a phone call. A good time frame to following up is 24 hours.
The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce is an excellent networking source. Whether you are a member that attends our events, a part of Emerge Tampa Bay, Leadership Tampa or an Ambassador, we offer a number of possibilities that could benefit your professional networking and build relationships here in the Tampa Bay Area.