7 Top Networking Tips for Today’s Professional

Although a lot of networking is taking place online these days, it’s still important to network offline. Think of a solid relationship that you've built over time, how did you build it? Since you first came in contact with this person, have you met them in real life. Chances are that you have met them face-to-face at some point. There is nothing quite like sitting across from another person having a conversation. You listen to what they have to say, but you also get to take in all their non-verbal communications. 
Here are some tips to successfully network.
Before you attend a networking event, make sure you have nailed down your response to, “Tell me about yourself.” The answer to this question is a little bit different from when you are answering the question in an employment interview setting. The post, “How to Successfully Tell Your Story at a Networking Event” walks you through how to answer this question at a networking event.

Have a purpose for attending the networking event in the first place. If you are attending the networking event to meet a specific person, make sure that you ask the organizer to introduce you to the person. If you are going because you want others to notice you and your brand, ask an intelligent question, or make a comment that adds value. If you are attending because you want to build your professional network, think about who are some ideal contacts for you. In other words, set clear, measurable goals.

Play to your strengths. If you are an introvert, and you see someone standing by him or herself at the event, chances are the person is an introvert as well.  Approach the person and introduce yourself. The other introvert will really appreciate the kind and thoughtful gesture. Ask questions and listen to the answer, this is something that introverts are good at. If you are an extrovert, and you see an introvert standing alone, approach him or her, introduce yourself, then introduce the person to others. This way you get to meet others while helping another person.

Arrive early. Many people arrive just at the start of the event, or even late. Don’t let that person be you. There is truth to the adage that the early bird catches the worms. When you are early, you get to meet the host, the speaker, and other attendees who arrive early. And the conversations are less rushed, so you get to know a person much better.

Volunteer at the event. The registration desk is a good place to meet others, especially if you are an introvert. You can also ask to volunteer as an ambassador. In this role, after someone has registered, you walk her into the room, introducing her to the speaker, or a group of people. The person will remember the gesture.

Take notes. We know that you have a perfectly good memory. But chances are you will forget some critical information. There is this little thing called the Curve of Forgetting. You forget 60 percent of what you learn within the hour. Like the title of the excellent book, Write It Down, Make It Happen suggests, if you want to take action after the networking event, do not leave things up to your memory. Write information down, so you can take action later.

Exit conversations gracefully. You have a purpose for attending a networking event, so you owe it to yourself to accomplish your goals. If you find yourself in a conversation that’s going on and on, ask for the person’s card, then invite them to meet another person you know, or have met already. Excuse yourself, then work on achieving your goals for attending the event. Before you move on, find out if it’s okay to connect on social media.

And it goes without saying that within 24 hours of the networking event, make sure that you follow-up with your contacts. Write a note to each contact, and connect with them on social media. If there is someone with whom you would like to meet one-on-one, initiate the next meeting. 


Related Posts:
Steps to Invigorate Your Network 

The Dos and Don’ts of Networking: Avoiding Common Mistakes 


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