Networking is an essential part of growing your career, along with socialization. It is one of the most effective ways to build meaningful relationships, whether with your clients, managers, bosses, or colleagues.
If you’ve experienced life as an intern, thrown into the world of networking without a real skill set, then you know that introductions and developing connections can be difficult.
You may not realize that college experience has already provided you a taste of networking. In the real world, you will be meeting a mix of people in an even more diverse setting. When it comes to networking, you need to become a good conversationalist.
Make a Move
Don’t expect to stand out without taking a little initiative. Move around, meet new people and be willing to listen and join in on conversations. Do not focus on the food or drink (no matter how good it looks).Snacks can hinder you from meeting other people across the room, so work out the logistics if you really need a bite. Make sure to keep your right hand free in order to shake hands and accept business cards. While mixing and mingling, keep your phone in your pocket and leave it on vibrate.
Here are some tips you may want to consider when networking:
Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. People can see through pretentions. Concentrate on being relaxed, spontaneous and genuine.
Be friendly. Be approachable. Make it a goal to meet a handful of people during the event. You don’t have to be the life of the party, but make sure to listen. It is important to make people feel that they’ve been heard and that they’re valued.
Be interested. Networking shouldn’t always be about you. Tell your story briefly and make the conversation as engaging as possible. Let other members of the group share their stories.
Quality, not quantity.Though it is good to meet a lot of people, quality is better than quantity when it comes to networking. Know how to connect with the right people in order not to put your efforts to waste.
Reach out. After a networking event, it’s good to follow up just to keep the connection alive. Draft a plan for how to create a deeper relationship with the people you meet on a professional level.
Networking shouldn’t be taken for granted — it’s vital to your career, especially if you want to walk the path to success.