Learning how to network doesn’t improve just your career — it improves your personal life too. Talented networkers have both amazing careers and genuine friendships. In this article, you are going to get easy networking tips you can try to improve your skills. If you really want to grow, we challenge you to practice one of these tips per day.
Picture this: You’ve just walked into a room crowded full of strangers. Your goal is to connect with new people, make friends and grow your network.
Networking events can be awful, intimidating and difficult! But they don’t have to be.
One of the first things you do at a networking event is to fill out a nametag. If you usually don’t think about this much, that’s about to change! Tip: Always look at other people’s name tags before doing yours. It might be that everyone has only written their first name.
Bonus Tip: When appropriate, add a conversation starter to your name-tag. Try writing an interesting phrase like: “Non-Spammy Sales Guy” or “Leadership Guru” or “Author.” This will definitely make you stand out among the sea of boring company names.
In his book Never Eat Alone, author Keith Ferrazzi says that people fail to realize that building a strong network is just like any other goal; you have to sit down and plan it out.
At networking events, People often plant themselves right at the doorway in an attempt to meet people. Rookie mistake.
When people walk into something like a networking event, they need a minute to breathe! When we are in a new place around new people our instincts kick in and we usually want two things: nourishment (typically a drink or food) and to survey the room. So, don’t plant yourself right at the entrance. Pouncing on someone right as they enter, will only lead to distracted conversation, while they’re thinking about getting food or trying to check out the room over your head.
Tip: The best place to stand is right where people exit the bar. This way, they have a drink in hand and are ready to mingle.
Meeting someone while standing in line is your golden opportunity. It’s the easiest way to meet the people who stand in front and behind you. The bonus is: If you really don’t like talking to them, it’s easy to excuse yourself by heading to the bar or buffet.
Making real connections at networking events is not impossible. It’s easier to make these connections happen when you use body language to your advantage, using the head tilt makes it clear that you’re listening and excited about what this person has to say.
Business cards can cause problems at networking events. Sometimes you’re left awkwardly searching for your business card when someone asks for it or, even worse, you lose someone’s business card and can’t follow up the next day. Avoid these issues with this tip: right pocket for my business cards and left pocket for other people’s business cards. You can do the same if you have a purse with pockets.
“Can I help you?” This question is the gateway to building long-lasting connections. Helping someone makes you more likable, after all, you relieved some of their stress and added value to their life. Offering help is a great strategy to earn a positive reputation because you’re focusing on other people and not yourself.
How you help people doesn’t have to be hard, just offer your knowledge and/or your time. This is a small price to pay to gain a new relationship, especially with influential people, as they often need the most help.