Meeting new people can be hard for anyone, but practice makes perfect. You can only grow if you step outside of your comfort zone and get yourself out there! Natasa Djukanovic knows a thing or two about this as the CMO at domain.me, a service for businesses and people wanting to personalize and expand their online presence.
Let’s take a look at some of the key takeaways from this chat!
Q1: When networking, what’s your go-to icebreaker question?
Our first question focused on the first few moments, and often scariest time, in any networking scenario.
Rachel Wendte from Career Foundry recommended an open-ended question that allows the other person to answer however they like, while also giving her some intel:
A1: “Who are you looking to talk with tonight?” This accomplishes a few goals. One, I see what they’re interested in without having to ask. Two, if I know the person they want to meet or someone adjacent, then I become a connector in their mind! #G2Fireside
Our guest Natasa added her own thoughts about the importance of context:
A1: I don't have a specific ice breaker question. Instead, I ask something related to the occasion, whether that's asking for a banquet recommendation or the most valuable takeaway from the conference. :) #G2Fireside
Q2: Do you prefer to network in-person or online? Why?
Next, we wanted to gauge how technology is changing the way we network.
Jack Virag from Nutshell noted that while he’s at his best meeting people in person, there’s a time and a place for online networking:
A2: No contest - I'm WAY better at in-person networking. I'll connect with you on LinkedIn if I'm trying to send you a PDF or something, but there's so much in-person magic that can't be replicated in those starchy Inmails: "Hi, pleased to make your acquaintance!" 🤮 #G2Fireside
A2: It depends! Conferences are great #networking opportunities because you most likely have something in common with other attendees. #Social gives you the ability to do your research ahead of time. Those years of Facebook stalking do come in handy... #G2Firesidepic.twitter.com/WXpFIkx8hK
Online is super easy, but I feel like networking in person is much more effective. You can usually find something to relate to much quicker in person, making it way easier to make a real, lasting connection
Q3: How does personal branding play into professional networking?
Our third question dug a bit deeper into the differences and similarities between networking and personal branding.
My co-host Natasa kicked things off with her stellar insight:
A3: As I see it, #personalbranding is the foundation of networking. Your reputation is key for expanding your professional network, whether you are connecting people or asking for an intro. And #reputation today is built both online and offline. #G2Fireside
A3. It's good to show the person behind the brand, position, or product. But it's important to let YOU shine as well. You and your personal brand are so much more than what it says on your paychecks. #G2Fireside 🔥
Masooma got in on the action with her own thoughts about the relationship between the two:
A3. Your personal branding makes you more memorable, which is a definite help with professional networking. It also ensures that you leave a good first (professional) impression - another plus we can't afford to ignore. :)#G2Fireside
A4 - overselling. this is something I have to constantly catch myself on. It's not because I'm particularly deal or revenue hungry! - just a natural evangelist who craves helping others. @ this stage, it's more valuable for me to listen & learn vs. soapbox & preach. Sometimes. 😎
G2’s Amy Lecza shared similar thoughts about people being too wrapped up in the sale:
A4: Being too pushy/immediately disengaging when they sense that you have nothing to offer them (a job, partnership, sale, etc.) - networking is building a network of people, and no one likes to feel transactional. #G2fireside
I admitted something that I know I do and why it’s important to be in-tune with yourself before talking to others:
A4: I... talk too much. All the time. BUT I’m hyper-aware of it when meeting new people. Listening is your friend and you’ll take away so much more from the conversation if you just actively listen. #G2Firesidepic.twitter.com/LILuvxdd9u
A5: Lost count! But with each networking event I go to, I grow a bit more courageous, and learn to love them more! :) As for the favourite event, @SparkDotMe <3 I might be biased, but if you don't want to take my word for it, check it out in 2020! 🙈 #G2Fireside
Natasa also answered that she’s a frequent conference-goer and speaker:
A5: Frequently! I travel for work a lot and get invited to speak about marketing and branding at conferences. Love the opportunity to meet new people and learn from them! I was anxious at first, but I found networking is also something you learn. :) #G2Fireside
Natasa explained that she couldn’t have worked her magic without the power of networking:
A7: It took a lot of dedication and some mad networking skills to manage to build @domainME into one of the most trusted domain names in the industry. I am so proud of my team and myself for that! ❤️ #G2Fireside
I don't think I've kept an exact track. So lots would be the answer here. But if I think in terms of recent history then I've come to know @alexmuench (his work is ace), and @socialveronika (she's very lively). Plus, I've had the opportunity to work with @jesseddy#G2Fireside
Bridget Poetker is a former senior content marketing specialist at G2, who focused on app development and design. Born and raised in the Chicago area, she graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I-L-L! In her free time, you'll find Bridget in the bleachers at Wrigley Field or posted up at the nearest rooftop patio. During the 8 months of Chicago winter, she hibernates. (she/her/hers)