So You Want to Get Better at Networking? Read This

Maybe you have to build connections for work or you are looking for another job. Regardless, you want to improve your networking skills and that is good. One thing to keep in mind, being comfortable talking to strangers does not come naturally to most. That is why you must keep putting yourself out there. Like everything else, you get better with practice.

1) Dress to Impress

No matter how amazing your personality is, always remember your appearance precedes you. Before you arrive at any event where you are looking to make connections, make sure you look professional. You will feel more confident and, most of the time, people will approach you first. Make it easier on yourself by putting your best foot forward!

2) Be Relatable Not Transactional

Go into social settings with the intention of building relationships. Get to know people and their interests. Be engaging and sincere; focus on building a relationship. Then, at a later date, you can  invite the person for lunch to talk shop. Talking about business after just meeting someone is off-putting. Plus, people are more likely to help you once they know you.

3) Network Alone

Do not be afraid to network alone. You do not need a friend standing by your side to approach a stranger and start a conversation. All you need is confidence. Sometimes friends can be a distraction when trying to conduct business, so separate your personal affairs from your professional ones and go to events alone. You are just as powerful solo.

4) Find Common Ground

Be interested in the person. Ask him/her questions about life, travelling, hobbies or current events. Finding commonalities during the conversation makes for a deeper connection, one that you both will remember.

5) Skip Giving Out Your Business Card

It is more important to get people’s business cards than to give out yours. That way you are in control of the follow-up process and have their information. Just think, if you fail to get someone’s business card but give him/her yours, you may never be contacted. Swapping is good but getting theirs is crucial.

6) Follow-up the Next Day

Mid-morning is a great time to follow up. That way inboxes are likely to be cleared of yesterday’s e-mails (Sending e-mails can be an art form.) And if you can, remember something from the conversation to add to the e-mail. This helps jog their memory. If you forget to follow-up the next day, then do it before the third day. After that you become an afterthought.