I saw this article by Dorie Clark a strategy consultant, executive coach, and keynote speaker and professor in the Business Schools of Columbia and Duke Universities and liked its key points.
The basics of networking are that it is essential for career development. Making new connections provides us with new information and opportunities to connect others or to collaborate and be helpful.
To connect with high level and experienced people in your industry, you need to give them a reason to want to connect with you. These are the items she points out these 3 key takeaways:
Do not misunderstand the pecking order. Networking with co-workers is simple: follow up promptly, connect on LinkedIn, offer to buy coffee or lunch. Connecting with people in positions higher than yourself is different. If someone in your network has recommended you to this person then mention them in your outreach. I have reached out based on articles I’ve read about certain individuals and I reference that in my email as to why I’m connecting.
Offer to give before you receive. Asking for someone’s time is an imposition unless you can provide a benefit to them. In your outreach, explain why you’d like to connect; at the recommendation of a mutual connection or to get their input for a project/report you’re working on.
Specifically state your value proposition. Highly experienced and sought after people don’t have time to weed through all the requests they get to figure out which are gold. You need to be explicit and quickly, about how you can help. Show you’re familiar with their work and have thought about how you can help them, not the other way around.
Networking has been described as an essential skill and one of the most valuable professional activities we do. So focus on making your reason to connect very clear and of interest.