Does the word networking make your palms sweat and your right eye twitch? Believe me, you’re not alone. But study after study shows that it progresses business and careers, so what do you do? Luckily, here are some great apps to help make networking less overwhelming:
This is a great app for job seekers, especially if you don’t want to broadcast that you’re hunting for a new job to your boss and business connections. You can use this Tinder-esque anonymous app that allows you to “date” your way to your next job with a few swipes. RIGHT = positions you’re interested in and LEFT = not interested. You make a networking connection with a hiring manager directly if they find you an “attractive” job candidate, too.
Reach finds local business professionals and events in your industry. You can use your LinkedIn account or email to log in, search for nearby users with your phone’s GPS sensor, or for users who’ve checked in to nearby locations. If you find a possible connection, send a request to “Reach Out.” If the person accepts, the app shares contact info and you’re ready to start a conversation. It also lists trending events near you so that you can register to attend in-app.
There are many similar apps in specialized areas, too: Grip, for example, is an AI-centric, Tinder-style app used by professionals in the startup scene; and Weave uses an AI, Tinder model to connect technology business professionals—from CEOs to recruiters—at networking events.
Don’t know how to break the ice with people? Charlie is an anticipatory computing app that can help you find some conversation starters or some common ground. It sends you a one-pager on whomever you’re meeting with after combing the Internet and social media to surface relevant data about them. For example, maybe you both have Bob from accounting in common or you both went to Yale.
Bonus Tip for Job Seekers! This works great to get to know more about a company or the people with whom you’ll be interviewing. Did the company just release a brand new product? Has the CEO just raised $50M in venture funding? Has its top competitor grown 35% faster in the past 3 months? Charlie will let you know.
- Knock Knock
Have a hard time asking for people’s contact information? Knock Knock organizes your mess of social media, calendars, and address books into a searchable database. It’s an easy way to connect and chat. Plus, you choose which contact information you want to swap with people around you. Just “knock” twice on your phone and off you go.
Bad with names? Mixers can be daunting enough, but there’s nothing more embarrassing than not remembering someone’s name right after you meet them, or worse still, after you’ve run into them at a few different events. Namerick allows you to jot down a name and notes about that person and uses other repetition and mnemonics techniques.
So, how are you going to stay in touch with all those new contacts you just made? Intro is an app that turns your about.me page into a digital business card. Again, you control the information you want to share and can keep track of the people and cards you’ve received.
- Let’s Lunch
Still not keen about attending big mixers with lots of people? You have to eat, right? So, why not do more with your lunch hour? You may be looking to meet someone from a company you want to work for, make contact with and expert in a particular industry, or just reconnect with friends or colleagues you haven’t seen in a while. Let’s Lunch is like your personal assistant that schedules one-to-one power lunches and coffee slots with individuals from your business network.
So, get to mingling. Meeting interesting people and building great relationships is becoming so much easier nowadays. You never know what can lead to great opportunities and maybe even new friendships.