Not everyone is a fan of networking. However, networking is essential to growth and success in both business and in life! Everyone has had someone who has opened a door for them. Without connections and mentors, we would all be out on our ear.
If you’re new to business networking, or it’s just not your thing, we have some effective skills for you. Before you know it, networking will become second nature:
- Get in the right mindset. Many people look at networking as a form of “work” or as an obligation. Forget the connotation and think of what networking actually is; an opportunity to mingle, have fun, get to know others and expand your potential!
- Be genuine. Another unfortunate connotation that comes along with the word “networking” is that you have to put on some sort of pretense. Of course, you will want to be the more professional version of yourself when in a career-centered setting. However, that doesn’t mean you need to stifle your true personality or be someone you’re not.
- Watch your language. Make sure your language is that of a positive nature. Practice your wording and speech in order to be your most captivating and positive self!
- Listen. Listening is the most important factor when it comes to communication. If you want to network effectively, you’ve got to listen with intent and engage in conversation.
- Know who you’re talking to. Be sure to network with a purpose. It’s great to mingle and make friends, but in a professional setting, you’ll want to make connections that will benefit both you and those you meet!
- Pay attention to your energy. Body language and energy play a huge role in how we are perceived by others. Make sure your body portrays a positive, open and welcoming message, and don’t forget to smile!
- Practice graceful exits. A lot of people think of networking as painfully awkward conversations-the most uncomfortable part being figuring out how to leave a conversation. It doesn’t have to be! We’re all in the same boat. A simple, “It was great meeting you”, or “I’m going to get a drink, would you like something?” will do.
- Follow up. When you make a connection with someone, don’t hesitate to follow up! Exchange cards, email, phone numbers, etc. After that, be sure to follow up the next day while the memories are fresh.
Never give up the chance to get out there and network. You never know who you might meet!
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