7 Ways Millennials Can Network Without Feeling Like Pests

What can you offer a more experienced connector? Plenty.

(StockLite/Shutterstock

(StockLite/Shutterstock)

Networking is all about building relationships and adding value. So as a millennial, what can you offer a more experienced “connector” so that you don’t feel that you have nothing to contribute? (Or you don’t feel like you’re just angling for a better job?)

I recommend you do as much networking as possible so that having conversations, looking for ways to help and connecting people becomes second nature. And here are seven tips for bridging the gap:1. Some networking etiquette requires no experience at all. If someone takes the time to meet with you, connect you with someone or offers other assistance, make sure you thank them. A handwritten note goes a long way. Maybe send them one of your favorite books that you think they might enjoy. You can follow up to see how they like the book or even plan a later get-together to discuss it. Bottom line, thank your network.

2. Look for opportunities for praise and spreading the word. Reach out and congratulate people in your network on their accomplishments. Help spread the word about what they are doing through sharing on social media. Endorse people in your network on LinkedIn. LinkedIn will actually alert you of people’s milestones such as promotions and work anniversaries. Follow up when you see these types of events pop up.

3. Provide social media assistance. Sure, this may be somewhat of a generalization and there are certainly those “techies” that defy the idea that the younger you are, the more versed you are in social media. But lots of seasoned professionals do struggle in this area. If you can sit with someone and provide tips on utilizing social media to grow their business, it does not cost you anything but time. If you are talking to someone who relays a pain point and you’re aware of an app that can help them, tell them about it. If you have a large social media following, use it to help promote people in your network.

4. Offer a New Perspective. Don’t underestimate the value of simply getting to know people and providing insight into your generations’ “take” on things. Providing assistance for how to best market a product or service to millennials or what motivates this group can be extremely helpful as well. Finally, you can help others stay current on pop culture and new social media tools to maintain their edge. Think Periscope and Meerkat right now.

5. Be a resource. Even if you don’t have a lot of professional relationships in your field, keep a list of people that might be of use to someone in your network. This could be anything from recommending a realtor, a party planner or a graphic designer. Make sure it’s a vetted list of people who are reliable and competent — so a bad referral doesn’t reflect poorly on you. But you can easily provide this type of assistance to anyone at any level. Even a CEO may be in need of a good nanny recommendation. Always think about starting a networking conversation asking, “How can I help you?”

6. Arrange your own event. Plan a meal inviting people of different generations to come together and network. Really think about the guest list and who could benefit from meeting each other. Connections will be made and you’ll be the person that brought everyone together. This can also be a great help to executives who are trying to fill a job at their organization as well. Additional tip: Alumni events can be perfect for this type of networking. You already have the commonality of having attended the same institution. Get involved with the local chapter of your college or graduate school alumni network and help bring people of different generations together.

7. Work the young professional circuit. Just because an event is geared towards millennials does not mean someone 40+ cannot attend. Think strategically though. A dive bar event may not be a fit, but an event discussing marketing to millennials with some open networking would be a plus. Or simply provide some suggestions of solid young professional networking organizations and perhaps someone younger in their company can attend and make new contacts. Either way, you have shown yourself to be a resource.

Jennifer Lynn Robinson, is the CEO of Purposeful Networking. She conducts keynotes, workshops and seminars assisting companies, non-profits, groups and conferences to help ensure your networking is working for you. You can connect with her at on Twitter, at purposefulnetworking.com or at [email protected].

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