Effective networking with your peers can be the key to achieving your career goals by finding contacts who can introduce you to new opportunities. With the increasing use of online networking tools, a growing number of professionals are however left wondering how to network in the real world.
Here are some tips to follow to help you build face to face networking skills.
Researching the people or event you are attending will help you feel more confident and comfortable. It’s a good idea to think of relevant non-business related topics you can discuss during your meeting for a more relaxed and comfortable conversation.
Being confident and friendly are the most important ways to make a good first impression in these situations. Looking approachable, initiating conversations and moving between groups to ensure you meet a good mix of people will help you to get the most out of any networking event.
Many people make the mistake of treating a networking event as if it is a sales pitch. Networking is about building relationships that could eventually allow you to advance in your career, so leave the sales talk at the door.
Genuinely listening and responding to the person you are talking to can show them you are taking the time to find out what they are truly saying and are interested in, instead of just talking at a person. Having a discussion is also less overwhelming for both parties and will result in a more productive outcome.
There is no real value in title or prestige alone. Value is in the information and support people can give, which often comes from surprising sources. A network is not a bureaucracy or a hierarchy; rather it is a level and fair playing field. The more people you are in contact with at all levels the more opportunities/information you will be exposed to.
Your attitude and energy can be easily sensed and affect the mood of the people around you. In any business environment, the least popular people are usually those who are negative or constantly complaining. Having an upbeat, enthusiastic attitude will help convey a positive impression on your work ethic and personality.
If you have exchanged contact information with someone make sure to follow up by contacting them after the event, even if you don’t have any professional need to contact them immediately. Acknowledging them with a personalised email will help to cement the relationship and keep you on good terms, allowing you to contact them in the future.
Start networking now and connect with Robert Walters on LinkedIn.
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