Networking is important and can make a big difference in your professional life. Here are a few things to be conscious of while doing your best networking.
When building your network, you want to build relationships and ties with a lot of people. When building a relationship with someone the most important thing to remember about them is their name! When people hear their names being used in conversation, it adds a more personal touch and the person will want to keep networking with you. If you see them again at a later time and use their name, it shows that you value their time and relationship.
Tip: When someone introduces themselves to you, try to tie it with something to help you remember. Repeat it a few times over back to them, and maybe write it down somewhere to have it to refer back to just in case.
When someone gives you their business card, that’s a good sign. If you see them again and they say, “You have my card, right?” and you misplaced it, that’s not a good sign. Keep every name, phone number, and email that is given to you because you never know when you might need it. It could also be a good idea to write down something you remember about the person or something from your conversation. By following up on it, even if it was a small detail about their family or favorite movie, it will show them that their connection is valuable to you.
This is as complex or as simple as you make it. Before a major networking event, check out the front page news for anything major going on in the country, maybe check out the scores of a few games that just happened, or even international news. Make sure your conversation doesn’t steer in the political direction but rather current headlines. Not only will you have a conversation topic, but it shows you’re knowledgeable about what’s going on.
What your body is saying is just as important as what you’re actually saying. Put on a smile to show positivity and that you’re happy to be there. A smile is also very welcoming. If you’re listening to them speak, lean in a little bit, don’t cross your arms, and maybe nod your head here and there to show you’re actively listening. These things should be natural and nothing over the top, but still something to be mindful of.
Don’t be shy
Professionals can be intimidating, but everyone is always looking to build their network. Don’t miss an opportunity to meet someone, even if they only have a few seconds to chat. You never know when someone can make an impact in the future. Start out with introducing yourself and asking an educated question to show you’re interested but did some research on your own. This also gets them talking so you can sense the vibe from this person. Who you know is a big deal, so be your best self and put yourself out there!