Last week, we polled our Twitter followers, asking them what they would like to refine in 2016. They had the following options to choose from:
- Professional Development
- Social Media
Results from this poll indicated that a whopping 63% of participants want to refine their networking skills in 2016. As such, we compiled a list of tips and tricks for networking success.
To some people, networking comes naturally, but to most others it is a very uncomfortable social interaction that takes some getting used to. Regardless of your sentiment towards networking, it is an inevitable part of personal and professional growth, development and ultimately success.
Below, we have compiled some tips and tricks that we have found helpful. Hopefully you can employ some of these to help you improve your networking skills in 2016.
Attend more events. Better networking starts by getting out there as much as possible. Look into local industry events, or even outside of your industry, that might have potential, and commit to attending as many as your schedule (and budget) will allow. You never know who might be there!
Strike a power pose. Research shows that “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on your chances for success. Boosting your ego by striking a power pose before going into a networking situation might help calm the nerves and set you up for networking success.
Set a goal. Give yourself something to work towards. Maybe it’s the number of business cards you give out, the number of cards you collect, or the number of people with whom you engage in meaningful conversation. Whatever it is, you should set a goal and spend your time working towards it.
Bring a colleague. While this shouldn’t be an excuse to limit your conversation to only your colleague throughout the event, bringing another person can sometimes help generate conversation within a group of people, or allow you to work the room separately and share any interesting connections you might have made.
Join the conversation. Most people plan on networking in some capacity at any given meetup, so don’t shy away from a group conversation. A good rule of thumb is, two people talking might indicate a private conversation, if there are three or more people huddled together, take the opportunity to introduce yourself!
Stand out. Having a reason for attendees to approach you takes the awkwardness away from you needing to approach others. Being distinct with your personal brand, or even bringing your own name tag, can sometimes draw the eye of other attendees and draw them in.
Be genuine. Don’t go into a networking opportunity in full-blown sales mode. It’s unlikely that people will respond positively to that approach. Instead, focus on building rapport in an honest, trustworthy, and genuine way.
Ask questions. Be prepared with a list of questions that allow you to get to know the other person in a friendly and non-intrusive way. These questions should also help you to achieve your goals. For example, if you are networking with the intention of better understanding prospective clients needs, your questions should be geared towards uncovering these needs.
Follow up. Networking doesn’t end when you leave the event. It is important to follow up and nurture the sprouting relationship.
We hope that these tips help set you up for networking success. If you see any member of the #REDSQUAD out and about, please come and say hello! We would love to get to know you.