Networking is nothing new, especially in today’s social media-focused world. It’s almost as if you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your home to build a relationship…almost.
Though apps and social media platforms have made it much easier to meet new people, find those with similar interests, and link tenacity with opportunity, real-life networking still has to happen. Top leaders do business with people they know and trust, and there’s no real way gain someone’s trust without personal interaction.
If you’re a young professional just starting your career, you may be wondering how to develop, exercise, and strengthen those networking skills.
BlackEnterprise.com caught up with one savvy networker— on the heels of landing an amazing new global gig—to chat about how to build authentic relationships in your career journey. Through a chance meeting with Mo Abudu (who has been deemed “Africa’s Oprah“), Eunice Omole, a runner-up on The Apprentice Africa, impressed the media mogul so much, she was offered the opportunity of a lifetime: a gig as chief strategist of Abudu’s EbonyLife TV and a show of her own, Hello Africa, which highlights success stories of the African diaspora elite.
How did the former institutional sales rep do it? Check out three tips below:
1. Have a mindset of service and get involved with organizations that attract the type of people you’d like to connect with.
“Interestingly enough, there was an event with the WomenWerk initiative in New York, and the founders were looking for participants and panelists,” Omole says. “They wanted to honor Mo Abudu with the Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and I was working with them to launch the event. They asked me if I knew how to reach out to her, and I said, ‘Why don’t I give it a shot?’ I reached out via e-mail, she responded, and it just went from there.”
2. Keep your follow-up game tight.
Keep up with those you admire or want to work with on social media, and drop them an occasional greeting via email. “I’m really big on nurturing the connections I make, especially when you have something in common with someone or if it’s someone you aspire to be like,” Omole says. “Mo Abudu has always been supportive of women. I just kept in touch—and I don’t mean every week, but if she were travelling to New York or to Lagos, Nigeria, I’d reach out and meet with her.”
3. Cherish the day-ones in your network and continue to strengthen those bonds even as you build new ones.
“I was on The Apprentice Africa years ago, and I had started a company in the States,” she says. “I’d also been hosting events and celebrating Africans of the diaspora. I’ve had such an amazing journey in doing that, and I’ve met so many phenomenal people—entrepreneurs, fashionistas, celebrities. I didn’t know where this all was going, but I knew it would go somewhere. Hello Africa was a way for it to all come together.”
Find out more on EbonyLife TV and showings for Hello Africa here.