1. Networking is a two-way street. A successful connection is one where you and your contact both get something out of knowing one another.
2. Networking is not easy for everyone; however, at every event there are people that are great at connecting. Introduce yourself, be honest, and tell them you are outside of your comfort zone. Super connectors LOVE to connect others.
3. Be courteous of other's time. Remember the purpose of networking is to meet new people, so do not monopolize your new connection’s time and don’t allow other’s to dominate your time either. There are a number of polite ways to end a conversation at a networking function. Undercover Recruiter suggests shifting focus elsewhere. For example, you can say, “It’s been great talking to you, but I really need to say hello to a few other people. Hope you enjoy the rest of the event.”
4. If you are uncomfortable networking, a good place to start is to get involved in a committee. Through a committee, you can sign up for a job or task during networking events such as registration which makes it easier to meet people briefly one-on-one. That way, the room won’t be full of complete strangers. You will already know some faces and names. Plus, you can build relationships within the committee to make it easier to connect at future functions. If you need help getting plugged in to a committee, let me know.
5. Networking is not a one-time thing. You should constantly strive to expand your network and improve upon your networking skills. The more you practice, the better you will become and the more beneficial networking will be. Lily Herman, writer for The Muse, advises, ”Instead of networking from a place of ‘Who can best propel my career forward?’ go into every meeting wanting to start friendships. By changing your mindset, it immediately takes the pressure off and allows your conversations to be much more authentic—and memorable.”
To try out to these networking tips, join us at an upcoming event! May is full of wonderful opportunities to make new connections. See the calendar of upcoming events here.