With technology making it easy to communicate through email, texting, and social media, it can sometimes make professionals too comfortable. Technology helps make it easy and convenient to communicate with many people quickly and hassle free. However, professionals need to remember that it’s important to take time to get back to the basics and still network in person. Whether you are unemployed and looking for a job or employed and looking just to network for business referrals, it would be in your best interest to meet with others in person for additional networking opportunities. Adding this personal touch to your networking efforts can go a long way to building relationships.
If you’re new to networking or haven’t done it in a while, it’s important to remember the following key tips:
- Be prepared: it’s always important to be prepared before you attend a networking event or situation. Make sure you have your business cards, be able to explain who you are/what you do in 30 seconds, research the event and individuals attending, and be sure to have good questions to ask those you come in contact with.
- Dress appropriately: research the details of the event to ensure you are dressed appropriately but it’s always best to try and keep it somewhat professional and tame, regardless of the setting.
- Don’t overdo it: food and drinks may be available at networking events. Be sure to not overdo it with alcoholic beverages and try to stay away from foods that might be extremely messy. Keep mints (rather than gum) available.
- Don’t be shy: whether you are an introvert or not, it is important to not be shy at these events. Everyone is here for the same reason- to talk to new people. Put yourself out there. Even if you are naturally shy, you may feel more comfortable as you talk to more and more people.
- Practice active listening: although it’s common for people to talk about themselves when they are nervous or unsure of what to say, your conversations with people should be 20% talking and 80% listening. You can keep the conversation flowing by asking the questions you prepared prior to the event. Be sure to also respond in ways that can show you can relate, which can potentially build a connection.
- Work the room: it’s important to try and talk to as many people as you can, so be sure to not get stuck talking to one person or one group of people for too long. Spend about 10 to 15 minutes talking to one person/group and politely excuse yourself to move on to the next person/group.
- Follow up: ask for business cards so you are able to follow up with the individuals that you talked to. This can help build your acquaintances into useful business relationships.
Networking is an amazing way to connect with people that can help you find a job, help you gain business referrals, or just a great way to discover new learning resources. The possibilities are endless if you are utilizing multiple networking platforms, whether it be social media or “in real life” meetings. Most importantly, be prepared and open and you’ll be sure to make the most of your networking efforts.
About the Author
Ashley Lauren Perez is a talent acquisition specialist and a lover of all things HR related. Additionally, she is using her human resources and creative writing background to write a blog for managers, leaders, employees, and job seekers. This blog’s mission is meant to make a positive difference by being informative as well as inspiring.
When Ashley isn’t writing, you can find her: reading; partaking in outdoor activities; and embarking on adventures and travel.
Feel free to read more blogs written by Ashley at: http://ashleylaurenperez.com
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