7 Tips for Successful Networking
Networking is key to professional success and finding new career opportunities. But for those who are shy or not quite sure how to start, the thought of meeting new people can be intimidating.
1) Don’t arrive “casually late.”
Rather, show up on time or even a few minutes early before it begins to get crowded. You’ll have an easier time approaching others and starting conversations, which may be easier than trying to join conversations already in progress.
2) Bring a friend.
If the thought of walking up to a group of strangers terrifies you, try bringing an outgoing friend who can help show you how it’s done and bring into the conversation. However, if you bring a friend, be careful that you’re not spending the entire time talking only with him or her.
3) Remember to listen.
It may sound like an obvious thing to do, but once you’re talking to someone you may find yourself distracted by thinking of questions to ask or watching others in the room. Focus on the person in front of you and show interest in what he or she is saying. You might find you have more in common than you realized.
4) Practice your non-sales pitch.
While you want others to know about your experience and accomplishments, you’re not at a job interview. This is a great opportunity for others to get to know you—personally and professionally. So have a quick, easy-to-understand explanation ready for when someone asks about your background. You can always go into more detail as the conversation progresses.
5) Share the floor.
Don’t let your passion get the best of you and spend 20 minutes telling a group of people you just met why your favorite color is blue. Keep your answers and stories short—about a minute or so if possible—and on point with the topic at hand.
6) Be approachable.
People aren’t going to approach you if they can’t see you, so don’t stand in a corner or have your eyes glued to your phone.
7) Bring a positive attitude.
A smile can go a long way. It shows you’re approachable and happy to be there.