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I recently had a realization. I’m one of those odd people that loves networking. Despite having very strong introvert tendencies (more on that in another post), I love connecting with new people- and perhaps even more so, making fortuitous connections between others. But there’s definitely a certain level of ick factor around the term ‘networking’. It conjures up feeling of inauthenticity and pushiness. But because doing it is such a necessary part of my work, I’ve not only gotten very comfortable with it, but figured out an approach that actually feels good (and inherently leads to more auspicious relationships).

It dawned on me the other day that others might not possess that same familiarity or ease with the practice, so I thought I’d outline my approach. Regardless of your job or career, knowing how to network well is key. Let’s dive in!

1. Let Go of the Fear I think one of the biggest hurdles to reaching out to someone we’d like to network with is often simply our fear that we’re bothering them. Here’s my best piece of advice on that: drop that fear. Now. It won’t get you anywhere. The people that advance are doing so because they ask for help. If we don’t ask for something we won’t get it, and the worst thing someone can say is no. At the same time, if your outreach is structured in the right way (and I’ve outlined that approach below), people will more often than not be flattered. Regardless of their position or field, they’ve most definitely been in your shoes before, and I find because of that, people are usually delighted to help or provide guidance. I’m always flattered when a reader reaches out and wants to meet to learn more about my career. I find it important to take the time to do so, because I’m so incredibly thankful for all the people who have helped me (and still do!) along the way.

2. Consider Your Subject Line Before even getting to the body of your outreach email, it’s key to think about your subject line. I have a few formats that keep this structure simple, but also increase my chances of the person reading my email. If I’m reaching out to someone I’ve never met before but we have a shared connection, I’ll write something like “Connection Through <insert name>.” If it’s someone I met at an event, I’ll write something like “Follow Up to X Event” or “So nice meeting you at X event!” And lastly, if it’s someone I personally know but haven’t seen in a while, I’ll write something like “Hello & Coffee?” Whatever the circumstance, it’s important to think about how you structure the subject line because this most definitely has an impact on whether they’ll read your email or not.

3. Keep It Brief But Direct After crafting the subject, you need to consider the body of your email. You’re likely emailing someone who receives a lot of email, so keep your message brief and to the point. I generally lead with some light flattery about how I’d love to learn more about their career (do not go over the top here though as it can come across as inauthentic), and then mention I’d love to share more about my current work and discuss ways in which we could potentially collaborate/work together in the future.* It’s important to mention the last bit to really set expectations for the meeting. If someone has zero idea you’re planning on pitching them in some form, it will definitely devalue the quality of the interaction. It will also make you much less likely to even do the pitch!  *Note: Pitching your services may not be appropriate for all interactions, but regardless of the situation, you want to provide the other person with a clear explanation of what you do and what they can do to best assist you. 

4. Make It Convenient When setting up the meeting you want to make it as convenient as possible for the person. Suggest several ways to connect (coffee, lunch, breakfast, in their offices, etc), and make it clear you’re happy to come to their neighborhood.

5. Determine Your Desired Outcome If you’re clear on what your desired outcome for a meeting is, it’s about one hundred times more likely you’ll achieve that outcome. In fact, often if I walk out of a meeting feeling like it could have gone better, I can usually pinpoint my feelings back to not fully fleshing out my desired outcome. Your desired outcome can be a whole host of things- a proposal, a second meeting, an introduction to a more appropriate contact, and so on. Whatever it is, getting really clear about it prior to the meeting and loosely mapping out how you’re going to lead the meeting will strongly increase your success rate. They’re also some general questions you should have really solid answers to. Questions like: What exactly do you do? What types of clients do you serve? How are your services structured? Crafting the responses to those answers is  whole other post in and of itself, but goes hand in hand with successfully leading the meeting and achieving your desired outcome.

6. Wrapping Up the Meeting These types of meetings can so often flow from one subject to another and be interspersed with some personal chatter, especially if you have a shared connection. Because of that, I always make a point at the end to rehash our next steps, whether it’s me sending a proposal, them introducing me to another colleague over email, me sending my availability for our next meeting, etc. You should be the person to take the lead on that conversation element.

7. Say Thank You Whatever those next steps are, make a point to say thank you. Like an interview, stick to sending something that day. I generally send thank yous via email, but occasionally if the response doesn’t require day of communication, will send a hand written note.

That about sums it up. I hope that was helpful! Question:  Would you guys enjoy more posts like this? I’d so love your feedback. And if you’re yearning for more of this style of content, I’ve got a post on The Well today that shares the method by which I changed my blog’s name as well as an interview about my career on Caramelized. Thanks to both for having me!

Image in graphic by Sutejo Tan

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Morning, lovelies! Happy Saturday. Popping in this morning from the country. I hopped on a train last night and headed upstate to celebrate Easter with my family and spend a few days out of the subway and (hopefully) away from my computer. What are you guys up to? On a completely different note, I went to get my nails done one night this week at a new salon, and the manicurist told me my nails were so damaged, I should refrain from color for three weeks. I was a little horrified, but so thankful she actually said something! Has a manicurist ever told you that? I’ve been sporting a glossy nail strengthener and actually really loving it. It’s also made my cuticles look much better.

Anyway… keeping it brief here today as I’m really trying to stick to my guns on that limited computer time thing! Here are a few fun links from around the web, and I’ll see you back here on Monday. xx

I made Cheddar Chive Popovers for Jacquelyn while she was in Mexico!

4 Tips to Find Meaningful Work

A judgemental map of NYC.

Rubber Band Easter Eggs

Savory French Toast? Swoon!

Edgy sneakers for summer.

Can’t wait to try Coco in Greenpoint.

A sneak peak into a new NYC Eats post coming next week…

“Not until we are lost do we begin to find ourselves.”

2 Clever Products That Will Make You Look Like Yourself (but Better)

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

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Ok so it may have dipped down into lower temps on the East Coast over the past few days, but the sun is still consistently shining, making me crave a solid spring look. In light of that, I’ve rounded up the eight items on most frequent rotation in my wardrobe across April and May:

1. I tend to stray towards overall neutral looks, so  like to infuse my outfit with a pop of color with accessories. This scarf is the perfect example, and also serves the dual purpose of keeping me warm when the sun goes down.

2. My love for baseball hats is somewhat ironic since I have absolutely zero interest in baseball (or sports in general), but I love the look of them! J.Crew makes some of the best.

3. I loooove my white Chuck Taylors- perfect for giving a relaxed yet chic vibe to any outfit. I tend to buy a new pair each season to keep them as fresh looking as possible.

4. I fell in love with the look of this Gentleman’s Folio as a clutch from Kat’s brilliant post. Now that many of my work meetings are later in the day (thanks to more sunlight), it’s such a great piece for transitioning from work to play mode.

5. I firmly believe every girl should have a solid pair of aviators- not just for spring, but any season. Instant cool girl vibe.

6. A breezy linen tee with a slightly swingy fit.

7. In the warmer months I tend to shy away from lipstick and simply sport a coat of gloss. I love this shimmering coral  shade from Dior, and this particular brand of gloss glides on better than any other brand I’ve tried!

8. The most amazing boyfriend jeans out there (I swear!). And the best part? They’re 25% off on Shopbop’s friends and family sale through tonight!

What’s on your spring wardrobe list?

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Double recipe for you guys this week! Get into it. I’ve teamed up with some of my fave blogger gal pals to bring you a round of spring inspired recipes. I went green on green with my dish, with the inclusion of kale and asparagus. Have you guys ever made kale pesto? It’s legit. Definitely heartier than the basil or arugula version, but I love the extra bite. Orchiette also happens to be one of my absolute favorite pasta cuts for its darling shape and serious ability to hold a sauce, so it’s perfect in this dish. Soaks up all that delicious pesto! And lastly, cause ya’ll know I love a recipe that can be made ahead, this one can be served hot or at room temperature. Spring entertaining at its best.

Be sure not to miss the other gals incredible recipes below!

Lemon Petit Fours from House of Earnest
Stawberry Paleo Ice Cream from Lemon Stripes
Pea, Pistachio, and Mint Pesto from vmac+cheese
Strawberry Avocado Tacos from The Average Girl’s Guide

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For the pasta:

  • 1 lb. orchiette (or any short cut pasta)
  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends removed and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • olive oil
  • juice of half a lemon
  • salt and pepper

For the pesto:

  • 4 cups packed curly kale, roughly chopped and ribs removed
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • freshly ground pepper to taste

Set a large pot of salted water to boil.  Once boiling, add in the orchiette and cook until just al dente- generally 10 to 11 minutes for Orchiette. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water before draining.

Make the pesto: Place all of the pesto ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth and fully incorporated. Taste and add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice if needed. Set aside.

While the pasta cooks, set your oven to broil. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spread the chopped asparagus in an even layer. Drizzle with a little olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Place under the broiler until slightly browned a crispy- about 5 to 7 minutes. The asparagus will still be quite al dente.

Place the cooked pasta in a large bowl. Add in the pesto and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of pasta water and stir well to combine. Add in the cooked asparagus and toss gently. Season with flaked sea salt (or just regular sea salt) and more cheese. Serve immediately.

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Something wonderful happened this weekend!  One of my best friends had a baby. I got the text on Saturday afternoon, notifying me that she was headed to the hospital. I immediately burst into tears. Tears of joy, but tears nonetheless. It was a kind of excitement I’ve never experienced before, she being the first of my close gal pals to have a little one. It put me on an absolute high for the rest of the weekend. I can’t wait to meet the little man, and for the rest of my friends to keep having sweet babes! Isn’t it the best?

On a completely different but still sweet note, these donuts. These would be show donuts. And by that I mean, they’re a little over the top. Even this sugar addict needs to pump the breaks on a candy filled frosted donut. But here’s the thing- for your Easter brunch, you serve the adults the donuts, and the kidlets the candy!  Two birds with one stone. The donuts on their own are actually only mildly sweet, and the lemon keeps them bright and light. Donuts and babies- made for a pretty good weekend. Here’s to a great week!

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Lemon Laced Coconut Milk Donuts adapted from Taste and Tell
Makes 12 donuts

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup flaked unsweetened coconut

For the icing:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk
  • pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 325°. Spray a donut pan with cooking spray (I love the coconut spray from Trader Joe’s).

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, combine the coconut milk, eggs, coconut extract, butter and oil. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing just until combined.

Transfer the batter to a large zip top bag and cut off one corner. Pipe the batter into the donut pan, filling each about 2/3 full.

Bake the donuts for about 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool. While the donuts cool, make the icing and toast the coconut. Mix together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, coconut milk, and salt, working it until it’s thick and glossy. To toast the coconut, place the flakes in a shallow baking dish at 325°. Bake for 5-8 minutes, stirring after 5 minutes and cooking until golden brown.

Dip one side of the donuts in the frosting, creating a generous coat. Follow by a light dip in the toasted coconut flakes. Repeat for remaining donuts. Serve immediately or store in an air tight container at room temperature. for up to three days.

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