Networking is hated and feared by many. Some people are shy and think of networking as the world’s greatest evil. Isn’t making a Linkedin connection enough? Some people think networking isn’t genuine, and every one you meet is just trying to get something out of you.
However, networking doesn’t have to be feared! It’s an essential part to growing yourself as a young professional. We’ve gathered up a few tips that will help you feel more comfortable networking, and help people feel more comfortable with you while you network!
1) Have your 30 second elevator pitch ready to go. You do not want to be stumbling over your words when someone asks you who you are, what you do, and what you want to do. This might sounds overwhelming if you are new into a business, but having it laid out before you go to an event can really help you feel more confident when you’re networking with people.
2) Don’t ever dismiss anyone as irrelevant. This is one of the biggest mistakes people can make, and trust me, whoever you dismiss will remember it long after they have found their own success. You never know when someone could come in handy.
3) Going along with the above, remember the Rule of 4. Never heard of the Rule of 4? Basically this rule dictates that the person you meet at an event won’t be the one who helps you the most. It will be their friend, who knows a friend, who knows a friend. So the fourth person down the line is who will come in handy. Keep that in mind with every connection you make. You might not think you will ever need a friend in graphic design, you will be surprised how often they come in handy.
4) Lead with a compliment. Then follow by asking about what they do for a living and what brought them to the event that night. Then discuss their career for a bit. Then lead in with your story and what you want out of this conversation. Make sure you take a genuine interest in what they do, or they will realize that this isn’t a genuine interaction.
5) If you are with someone else, be sure to introduce them. This is good practise even if you aren’t networking. You should always introduce the people that you are with to whoever you are meeting with. This is a great way to get the conversation started and make everyone feel more comfortable.
6) Don’t take “no” personally. There might come a day when you are all up on your networking game, smiling, laughing, talking… and someone just doesn’t want to give you the time of day. Try to keep in mind that when people are rude, it’s a reflection of the day that they are having, and not on you or your networking skills!
7) Make a point to follow up. After an event where you met 50 different people, how can you expect them to remember you clearly if you can barely remember them? Send a follow up email or give them a call to be sure they remember you.
8) Network with the goal of helping others, not just helping yourself. Helping yourself should be seen as a bonus, not the goal. With this in mind, you will come across as genuine. Let them know how you can help them, and build your relationship from there.
So tell us:
What is your go-to conversation starter at networking events?
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