It’s no secret that careers are built and based on who you know.
Of course, what you know has always helped but, to be honest, that girl or guy who seems to know everyone has an easier time with everything from scoring dinner reservations at a hot new restaurant to finding new jobs and clients.
Discover these 9 tips to become a networking pro yourself and keep up with the competition.
1. Venture outside your circle.
It sounds pretty obvious, but how many times have you wasted opportunities for connections because you were catching up with your friends? It’s great that you’ve organized a group of friends or coworkers to attend a networking or charity event, but it does little good if you only banter among yourselves.
2. At least look confident.
Even when you’re not, you should never look like that girl or guy alone in the corner at a high school dance. When you find yourself solo in a sea of unfamiliar faces, look at it like a social experiment and challenge yourself to bite the bullet and speak to as many people as you can. Blind dates are way worse…
3. Don’t be overly calculated.
The key contact you (and everybody else) are dying to get in front of has seen it happen a million times; nothing’s worse than the feeling that someone’s talking to you just because they want something from you. Instead, be your natural charming self and discuss the evening’s cause, the wine, or even the interesting fashion choices. Never begin with, “So, what do you do?”
That’s the whole point, right? But when it comes to networking, it means more than connecting the dots regarding the people you know or how you can work together. It means eye contact and engagement with the other person. You know, actually connecting with them.
5. Add value.
Make that stranger walk away feeling like they’ve gained something from the conversation with you. If there’s a mix and mingle after a speaker series, try to research fun facts beforehand about the speaker so that you still have something to contribute even if you don’t feel like you can form an intriguing enough opinion on the talk.
6. Make a point of getting business cards as opposed to giving.
We’re by no means suggesting you show up empty-handed – yes, business cards are still relevant. But as soon as you give yours, the connection is literally out of your hands unless and until the other person decides to contact you. Make it a personal game to see how many you can collect.
7. Remember something about each person you speak to.
This, of course, is so that you can pleasantly surprise them when you bring it up next time you see them. It could be a trip they were about to take, a renovation to their house, or their recent engagement. Write it on their business card when you get home if you need to.
8. Follow up.
There is little point in investing in the banter and getting a business card in the first place if you don’t follow up. Make a point of reaching out the next time you’re back at your desk so that you don’t forget. A ‘nice to meet you’ email looks awkward weeks after the fact.
9. Be smart with social media.
Once your connections start to accumulate on professional and social networking sites, make sure your profile and maintenance of it doesn’t do more harm than good. Keep your shared articles timely and relevant, add value with posts, and effectively engage with influencers. In short: don’t make them sorry they clicked “accept.”
Stay tuned for more from the Apothic Wines Discovery Hub, where you will always discover something notable.
Cover image from: www.planyourmeetings.com