Good networking skills are crucial in our professional and personal lives. To some, schmoozing comes easily; to others, not so much. In either case, it’s always a good idea to stay on top of all the best ways to connect. You never know when a new contact might lead you down a new career path or partnership. You know what they say: there are only six degrees of separation between any two people in the world. I like to think my BlackBerry phone shaves a degree or two off even that.
I consider my BlackBerry the ultimate networking tool. It’s not only my personal assistant that makes sure I remember to attend meetings, job fairs and conferences, but it also helps me look good and smoothly exchange contact information once I get there.
Intelligence On The Fly
Have you ever been in this situation? You spot someone who works at an organization you’ve been wanting to do business with, but you haven’t yet researched the company. Instead of avoiding her for fear of having nothing to say, why not gather some intel on your way over to introduce yourself? You’d be surprised by what you can find out in a minute or two using the following tools. (Just make sure to keep one eye on where you’re walking so you don’t trip over a potted plant.)
Browsers. The BlackBerry Browser offers Google, Yahoo or Bing so you can choose your favorite search engine. Turn on Reader Mode, which removes images and advertisements for a text-only page that’s even easier to skim.
LinkedIn. The massive professional social network is a great place to scan your target’s profile for quick information. Be sure to keep your own LinkedIn info updated as well, and consider blogging there to raise your profile.
Twitter and Facebook. With most companies turning to social media for marketing, brand recognition and connecting with customers, following your target on Facebook or Twitter is a good way to glean conversational tidbits. Have they participated in any fundraisers lately? Announced a new partnership or launched a new area of research? Let potential future business partners know you’ve been doing your homework. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter all come preinstalled on your BlackBerry 10 smartphone.
Armed with your new intel you’re ready to meet and greet and, if all goes well, exchange contact information. The easiest way to exchange contact info, resumes or other documents is NFC (Near Field Communication), which lets you transmit data to another NFC-enabled device simply by placing your phones back-to-back. You can also share through Bluetooth, email, BBM, BBM Meetings or SMS.
Apps to Network By
There are lots of additional tools out there that can help you stay organized and discover like-minded professionals. Here are five, starting with one close to home.
When I need to find a file fast to jog my memory or share with a new colleague, BlackBerry 10’s native File Manager app helps me quickly scan the files in my device memory, media card or cloud storage area. And get this: I can even grab files off my desktop using Remote File Access through BlackBerry Link.
Let Evernote remember everything for you, like an assistant whispering in your ear so you can focus on shaking hands and showing off your pearly whites. I don’t know what I would do without this application; it’s my ultimate note taker, among other things. I use Evernote to keep a plethora of voice memos, images and text, including details on businesses I’m working with or hope to work with. Because my data’s in the Evernote cloud, my notes are available everywhere I go.
Despite technological advancements, some meetings still manage to happen in person. (Personally, I prefer face-to-face.) Meetup lets you find a group for any hobby or interest imaginable. Even if you don’t immediately find a club of BlackBerry enthusiasts within driving distance, you’re sure to meet like-minded professionals in another Meetup group at some point. So stay open-minded about attending pet playdates, archery groups and book clubs in your quest for professional development. Who knows what job opportunities you might find in your next Meetup meeting – and you might even develop a new hobby.
Nice To Meet You
You’re hungry, eager and motivated. You want to make your mark in this world. BlackBerry is already your passport to productivity; it could also help you get a little more than that proverbial foot in the door. There’s your future out there waiting for you; a company waiting for someone like you. Why not show them what you, and your BlackBerry, can do.
About Ryan Blundell
Ryan has been involved in the wireless industry for well over a decade; currently managing technical communication, interaction design and content strategy for a Canadian wireless provider. He has previously been published on Innovation Insights, Business 2 Community, Everything Zoomer and CrackBerry.com. You can follow Ryan on twitter @ryanblundell