Each new year is a time for reflection on what you’ve done, how you’ve gotten there, and who helped you get there. In 2015, maintaining and growing your personal network is vital to your career development. We want to encourage each of you to take a step in the right direction with these networking tips from innovative and creative leaders.

Scroll through to read tips from John Maeda, Debbie Millman, Hani Hong and Noreen Morioka. May their words of wisdom guide you into an enlightened and creativity filled 2015!

Debbie Millman — Writer, Educator, Artist, Brand Consultant and Host of Design Matters @debbiemillman

PREPARE.

Dogged, rigorous, relentless preparation will help you feel more confident and capable and courageous in any networking situation. What that means is this: Before you go to a lecture or AIGA event or any networking event, google everyone that might be there. Google the speakers and the moderators. Google the company’s they all come from and find out everything that you can about them. See if you can get an attendance list in advance. Come up with two or three questions you can ask everyone you think might be there. Visualize the scenarios, anticipate what could happen and what you will do when it does. Create a game plan! This way, when you are finally face to face—or shoulder to shoulder—with someone you want to meet you have something you can say to break the ice, engage in sparkling banter and get the job of your dreams.”

 

Hani Hong — Director of Marketing, Shutterstock @intrepidina

Ask not what your contact can do for you; ask what you can do for your contact.

Genuinely help those you meet — share knowledge, make introductions, help them however you can. In short, be altruistic and give of yourself and your personal network. It will grow.

 

 

 

John MaedaDesign Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Former President of Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) @johnmaeda

Be yourself. And be open to change yourself, always.

When coming into contact with people you don’t know, they will make an immediate judgement about you. You should listen to and watch for the cues or, in some cases, hear their direct feedback. You need to be open to hearing what they don’t like about you, and not just what they like about you. And then you choose which feedback to take, and which to be comfortable about. By absorbing some of what they have said that is consistent with who you know or want yourself to be, and making the earnest opportunity to learn each time, your network grows because you have let someone else’s world connect into you and live inside you. You become them. They are you. And that’s what a network really is … them, not you.

 

Noreen Morioka — Co-founder of AdamsMorioka, past President of the Los Angeles chapter of AIGA, Chair of the AIGA National President’s Council @NoreenMorioka

1. Meet in Person, 2. Call on the phone, 3. Maybe email. 4. Never Text.

When it comes to choices of who to work with, the majority of the time will be about which person do I have a personal rapport with. Never take for granted a moment to meet someone face to face, or take a risk and introduce yourself.

 

 

What are some of your most cherished tips for networking? Let us know in the comments!