5 networking tips for those who just don’t know where to start.

Most of us cringe at the thought of mingling with people we dont know – but it really doesn’t need to be that daunting. The most important factor is to leverage your natural powers – These tips are great for those who just don’t know where to start.

Be you.
Sometimes you can be so overwhelmed and focused on your end goal, such as trying to generate new job opportunities, that you can come across as uncomfortable or even ingenuine. We find the best practice is just to be yourself; this tends to help alleviate any possible awkwardness. And remember, when you’re meeting new people, they want to get a sense of who you are, so let your authentic self shine.

Know why you’re there.
The most valuable thing you can do before turning up at an event is to know why you are attending. Are you hoping to make friends, dazzle prospective employers, meet particular people or ask important questions? Have a clear idea of what you’d like to achieve – this will give the purpose of your interaction and generate substantial conversation.

Be curious and ask questions.
We know it’s easier to talk about yourself – but the act of listening is the answer to creating a great first impression. We find that the simplest way to make someone like you is to ask interesting questions and be genuinely engaged in their responses. Plus, by asking questions, you’ll be leading the discussion instead of talking to your new contact.

Use social to build your network.
Social media is the top connective tool. It is a two-way channel where anyone has an opportunity to build a rapport. At any time, social networking can help you reach new markets and people and can enhance your public profile. The key is to keep your interactions genuine as you would in real life, make sure your work information is up-to-date and be active regularly on those platforms.

Follow up with the people you meet.
Now that you are connected and have built your network, you need to sustain those relationships. The best networkers periodically check in with their contacts, invite them to events where possible, and meet face to face every so often to keep in front of mind. The idea is to work on the relationship like you would any other to leverage from your network one day.

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