As we head into summer and the Xmas season, there are plenty of amazing events and parties to attend. These events can provide a platform to further yourself, your network and your career. So, here are a few tips on how to 'Network like a PROfessional'
For many of us, when we hear the word network we instantly feel apprehensive and start coming up with reason as to why we can not attend.
Networking events are more prevalent than ever and in this social space, it is becoming a necessity to be able to meet new people and work a room with confidence and poise. Whether you are new to the networking game, a confident net-worker or a nervous wreck, here are some tips/reminders on ‘How to Network Like a Professional’
Do your homework
Whilst the art of networking comes naturally to some, many of us need to put a little more thought into attending these events than just showing up. Like all things in life; if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.
My first ‘networking’ event was at university and I was SO nervous. A colleague of mine suggested reading ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People‘ which I was skeptical about due to it’s publish date. However, I couldn’t believe that such an ‘old’ book could be so relevant. It calmed my nerves and gave me some excellent skills in preparation for my first event.
Fast forward another 15 years and the social space has changed SO much and yet not at all. Everything and Nothing has changed. With that in mind here are my top tips.
How to Network like a PROfessional
Remember names of the people you meet.
This is always a tough one for me. Usually I am so busy thinking about what to say next, I completely bypass listening to the persons name.
Wait for the introduction, listen to their name and try to repeat it at lease twice in the next minute.
‘A person’s name is a very powerful thing – it’s an embodiment of that person’s identity. It’s a reference to them. So remembering and using someone’s name is a great way to make that person feel important.’
People love to talk about themselves. In fact, the key to making a great first impression is to be curious about the other person. Asking thoughtful questions is a great way to put others at ease and demonstrate your listening skills. The more interested you are in others, the more interesting you become to them.
‘Simply put, self-disclosure is gratifying. It gives us a neurological buzz.’ Samantha Boardman MD
Pre conceived NO-tions are a No-No.
In this modern age of social media, we may think we already know a person from their social profiles. You don’t. Social profiles are often the public persona, but not the person themselves.
Don’t lead with ‘I saw you on Instagram/Linked In’. Get to know the person first and allow them to show you their real self
Relationship Building is the new Networking
When I talk about networking, I don’t mean give a business card to everyone in the room and move on. You need to build a relationship to be remembered. Listen to the people talking in your group, remember their names and try and connect in some way after the event. This can be via text, email, Linked In or other social media platforms.
Preparation is the Key to Success
Read up on a few local, global and industry news’ events. This way you can strike up a conversation with most people and they will be able to join in with ease.
Be careful not to come in with a heavy opinion and turn the conversation into a debate or argument. Also, make sure you show interest in other people’s opinions.
Furthermore, if you know there are speakers, Q+A sessions or certain people attending, research the related topics or people. This will ensure confidence during these events and stop you feeling like you want to look at the floor!
Put down your phone
Looking at our phones has become a very common yet antisocial part of our lives. Try and keep your phone in a pocket or bag in order to make yourself more approachable.
There is a reason why you are where you are and a reason why you were invited to this event. Feel confident in your skin, make eye contact, smile at everyone who looks your way and if in doubt, just listen.