Networking Tips

Networking Tips

Usually, when someone brings up the concept of “networking” in a classroom or otherwise, you can feel the nervousness radiate around the room. But networking does not have to be seen as an overbearing method of socialization. It’s important to start thinking about your future while you’re in the present, and networking could be the first step toward reaching your goals. Below you will find some tips that will help you to network effectively and easily.

Make sure you have all your ducks in a row. When you go into an event where you know you’ll be networking, make sure to do your research on who’s going to be there. There’s nothing worse than going into a networking event and being clueless about who’s there and what you want to accomplish. Go with a game plan, i.e: to introduce yourself to a possible employer, to educate yourself more about a company you like, or to ask important company figures for advice. Set a goal and stick to it, or else you’ll be stuck standing in a corner with a drink in your hand wondering why you came in the first place.

Be your true self. If a company were to see that the person they just hired is not who they said they were, how do you think they would handle it? It’s all too easy for many of us to deal with nervousness by artificially boosting our personalities and achievements or by fabricating aspects of our lives for the sake of impressing someone. But this is not the way to go. Networking is about building relationships, and learning how to best help your network partners with the skills you already possess. Bring your personal and business skills to light during networking events, but don’t make them up! No one gets helped that way.

Open up your approach. Whilst in the groove of networking, it is possible that you’ll get a little repetitive in your approach to those you’re trying to network with. If you meet with multiple groups that spark your interest while still keeping your tactics fresh, you’ll have a better chance of being memorable in a networker’s mind. Ask open ended questions, tell a personal story, talk about your strengths, or ask a humorous question. There are endless possibilities! Controversial topics are ones to steer clear of though, since you want to avoid making the conversation awkward and uncomfortable.

Actively listen. When someone is just smiling and nodding whilst having a conversation, it’s a tell that they aren’t listening. Compare the smile and nod to a “wow” or a “that’s crazy” while you’re having a conversation with your friends. It’s an immediate indication that you’re not being heard, and it’s frustrating when you catch them. Don’t let this be you! Ask follow up questions, throw in some comparative comments, and let them know you are taking in all of the information they are giving you! If you choose to let it go in one ear and out the other, you may miss some quality advice, or information that will help you in the future.