Written by Rachel Christine
Building a successful career involves many important steps, and one of those is creating a wide professional network. However, many people don’t enjoy the thought of attending networking events where they don’t know anyone, or they may feel uncomfortable asking someone for their business card. Whether you’re seeking new career opportunities or simply want to meet new people, networking is an essential concept that we should not only be doing, but enjoying! Use these five tips in your next networking event and become the best networker in the room.
Discuss your passion: Being enthusiastic about something you love is often contagious. There’s no better way to win someone over than letting them know what excites you about your career. Even better, you two may share the same passion which creates a conversation not to be forgotten. Explain how you got into your career and where it has taken you in life. The person will see your motivation, which brings you one step closer to getting that connection.
Don’t take over: Make sure you let the other person engage in talking, too. It’s a conversation, not a speech. They’re there for the same reasons you are. If you end up talking about yourself from start to finish, chances are you won’t be hearing from them again. Give them an idea of what you do and what you’d like to do, but always allow for the other person to speak just as much.
Smile: No one wants to approach someone with a nervous or irritated look on their face. Smiling often shows the other person you are confident and easy to talk to. It’s important to have a positive attitude when networking, as this makes people want to get to know you. It’s a simple tip, but you’ll see a huge increase in connections when you use it.
Don’t wait to be approached: If you’re the person hiding in the corner, you won’t be leaving with the contacts you came to make. Plus, you’ll stand out to everyone even more, but not in the way you want. Engage yourself with others and don’t wait for someone to walk up to you. Being the conversation starter shows confidence and leadership, and who isn’t looking for that?
Follow up: This might be the most important tip of all! When you establish a great connection, make sure you reach out within two days to remind them how much you enjoyed meeting them. Email, phone, and LinkedIn are all great ways to follow up. However, make sure to reference one of the key topics you discussed so they remember you. Following up shows your interest and dedication, which is what networking is all about!
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