Erin McDermott Peterson is a Partner with PeopleResults, a Talent, Learning, and Change consulting firm that works with business leaders to deliver change and grow capability. She has led Talent Acquisition for some of the most successful organizations in the world, including Accenture, Aon Hewitt, and Amazon.
According to Erin, this is how you can become an expert at networking:
Being an expert at anything takes a very long time, so to start, I suggest connecting in person and digitally with people you find interesting. You might come across them on LinkedIn, at a conference, a local meet-up, on a podcast, listening to TED Talks, or by reading blogs and other media. When you find someone you admire (pro-tip #1: they don’t have to be famous!), connect with them on their professional social media platforms, such as Twitter and LinkedIn. Follow them and engage with them on and offline. Never be scared to reach out to a person. If there’s someone you want to connect with, send them a message or an email and ask to connect for 15 minutes. You can have a telephone call or a coffee chat. Whether you reach out to someone using LinkedIn or email, make sure you provide context when you send them a message. Mention who you are and what you do, how you learned about them, and what they specifically said or did that made you want to reach out (pro-tip #2: don’t ask someone for a job the first time you connect!). Before speaking with someone, do your research on them, so you can ask some thoughtful questions, especially of people with more experience. You can learn a lot and they will be impressed that you did your homework! When you connect, find out what they’ve struggled with and what they’ve learned. Then follow up with a personal thank you. Be specific and mention something they said that resonated with you. Thank you notes are becoming a lost art and are a great way to differentiate yourself by using a pen and paper to show gratitude.
Erin McDermott Peterson is a Partner with PeopleResults, a Talent, Learning, and Change consulting firm that works with business leaders to deliver change and grow capability. She has led Talent Acquisition for some of the most successful organizations in the world, including Accenture, Aon Hewitt, and Amazon. Erin hosts a podcast for Talent Leaders called “Big Fish in the Talent Pool” where she interviews Global Heads of Talent Acquisition. She has written for The Muse.com and has been quoted in Fast Company, The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, and HR Executive Magazine. Erin lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and Golden Retriever, Moab. When Erin is not serving clients, she serves on the national board for Jeremiah Program, the Advisory Board of GenHERation®, and volunteers locally with Impact Austin.