Both online and offline networking are key components to expanding your personal brand through connections. From making a new friend to getting a new client, or even job, networking can advance your career. This is why it’s so important to know how to utilize it and make a good impression. Life is all about who you know! Here are our best tips to be a successful networker.
- Set your goals.
Why are you going to this event? What do you want to accomplish? Have a purpose and execute it. Make new connections, someone you can refer business to, new friends – whatever it is, make sure you’re getting something out of the experience.
2. Know who your audience is.
Do your research on the community you’re meeting and find talking points before attending. If you know of a certain group or even specific people you will be meeting there, do some digging. Find out ahead of time if someone important will be there, so you can do your research on them and be prepared to get in front of them.
- Be authentic and open.
Tell your story and give people the opportunity to connect. There’s nothing like a confident person who is proud of their journey. You’re setting the tone for open conversation and for others too to feel comfortable not only to speak up, but to speak to you.
- Have good eye contact and be completely engaged.
Distractions, like your cell phone ringing, automatically defeat the purpose of networking. Everyone is walking around and mingling. Your lack of interest directly leads to theirs and gives them the opportunity to walk away.
- Don’t close yourself off.
Mix and mingle, and give others the opportunity to join in on conversations. Standing by someone and only speaking to them majority of the time can sometimes be intimidating to others. You’re there to meet people, not hang around with the people you already know.
- But, you can pair with a mentor.
Walking the room with someone who knows the crowd and can introduce you is highly beneficial. But remember, to always look and stay open.
Continue to grow the new relationships you’ve made past the introductory phase. Grab lunch, a coffee, collaborate, or even just a phone call can do. All relationships take effort and commitment. Act on them and grow them the best you can. That’s what networking is all about!