Invite people into your life who don’t look or act like you. You might find they challenge your assumptions and make you grow. -Melody Hobson
Networking is a powerful tool we can use in business to learn and grow professionally and personally.
Networking is about building and maintaining relationships between those who have similar interests, ideas and values and different experiences and area of expertise to expand your circle of influence. It’s more than just collecting cards at a business social and storing them away in a secluded place to collect dust. But it can get pretty ak-weird at an event designed to help “business professionals network” when you are not quite sure how to navigate small talk and get to small business talk.
Here are some tips on improving your networking skills:
Create a lasting impression.
When introducing yourself, remember KISSS. Keep it short, simple and sweet! Make sure the eye contact is strong and your smile is sincere. Speak genuinely as if you are talking to a lifelong friend. The first impression has a lasting impression, so make sure they remember you!
Pro Tip: Practice in the mirror! Take note of your body language, your facial expressions and also the firmness of your handshake!
People love to talk about themselves and their business. Simply ask whatever it is you want to know. Whether if it’s a general question to break the ice or an in-depth question tailored to their way of thinking. Get to know them on a semi-personal level. It helps leave your mark in their memory bank.]
Need suggestions on where to start? Here are some examples: What sparked your interest in your field? What was an invaluable resource when you were starting your own business? How has social media helped your company grow?
Pro Tip: Keep in mind general questions that can be easily answered impulsively then expand on different topics from there.
Always Be Yourself
Understand that being nervous when walking into a room full of new people is totally normal. Rest assured, you are in the room for the same reason they are. So don’t focus on selling yourself or trying to win someone over with an over the top garrulous personality or a genius invention. Take a deep breath, relax and just be you girl! If you mess up or fumble on your words you can flat-out say “I am sorry I’m super nervous.” chuckle and keep going.
Pro Tip: Know yourself, be yourself, grow yourself. The objective is to develop the skill of socializing with others on a professional level
Be Prepared & Be Present
As previously mentioned, first impressions are lasting impressions, so make it count. Be sure you’re worthy to network with. Do you have a service to offer that solves a unique problem? Look for a natural introduction to your business or passion project in the conversation. Be familiar with the services you offer. Listen for an indication the need for words of wisdom or encouragement. Think of someone else in your network who can help be of value. Just make sure you are an asset in the room. Make sure when they walk away they remember you & when you walk away you learned something and a new contact.
Pro Tip: Your presence is a present, but also make sure you have
So that business card that you received or that phone number you saved in your contacts is actually being put to use! The relationship you started to build during the networking mixer can help you further your aspirations. Keep in contact with those who took the time to speak with you, you never know when you’ll have questions later on down the line.
Pro Tip: Set a date to catch up and touch base.
Did you all like my first blog post? Let us know in the comments below.
Be bold. Live out loud & as always remember,