Networking – 5 Tips To Get Started

He stands in a room full of people, nervously drumming his fingers, eyeing all corners of the room, looking for a familiar face. A stranger approaches from the corner of his eye, he reluctantly turns to see a stretched out hand and eyes piercing him with intent. His heart beats faster, a bead of sweat drips from his brow. Taking a step back, he turns and speeds from the room too terrified to look back…

Networking events can be intimidating, but with the right set of tools and a positive mind frame they can also be rewarding.

The value of good networking can’t be underestimated. But like any skill networking takes practice. If done well, networking can be mutually beneficial and open up opportunities.

Skilled networkers ‘pay it back’ by offering advice, knowledge and information, and don’t expect things in return. As the saying goes, ‘what goes around comes around’.

First impressions count, and these 5 tips can help you get off on the right foot:

  1. Be prepared
  • Learn about other networkers before you meet
  • Know their expectations
  • Find common interests to talk about
  • Consider cultural implications

 

  1. Leave awkwardness at the door
  • Be confident in yourself
  • Ask questions
  • Listen actively and respond
  • Don’t ramble

 

  1. Use body language to make the right impression
  • Shake hands
  • Make eye contact
  • Speak clearly and at the right pace
  • Stand with confidence

 

  1. Know what you want to say
  • Be elevator pitch ready
  • Tell a great story
  • Ask networkers about themselves and their experiences
  • Offer advice if and when it’s needed
  • Don’t be a sales agent

 

  1. Follow up
  • Thank fellow networkers for their time
  • Offer to meet again
  • Connect on LinkedIn and other networking sites
  • Take action and be true to your word

 

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