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Most people at networking events consider themselves shy or introverted. Many are uncomfortable with networking because it seems unnatural to them. But some of these same people possess great social skills in other settings. So, is it possible to make networking a less painful process? Is it possible to even — dare we say — enjoy it? The answer is yes!
Building confidence in networking can be an invaluable skill to your career growth and development. There are three critical networking tips you can use to help you enjoy the experience and make those connections.
According to Susan RoAne, author ofHow to Work a Room: The Ultimate Guide to Making Lasting Connections, the key to success is utilizing a mix of socialization skills and networking tactics.In her book (which was featured in a SHRM Viewpoint article), RoAne says there are separate skillsets for social interactions than for business networking. By combining the two, you become more comfortable with interacting with others on a social level, thus leading to a better connection. Plan to enjoy your next networking eventusing the following networking tipsstraight from an expert.
Tip #1 Focus on Preparation
Researching the event and attendees before your arrival is critical. Similarly to preparing for an interview, knowing more about the people and organizations you‘ll be meeting helps you prepare a meaningful introduction. Thinking about a few significant topics to discuss will also help you feel less intimidated when you meet them in person.
Tip #2 Practice, practice, practice
Practicing a short introduction of yourself and connecting it to the event in a meaningful way will give you confidence because you’llhave an idea of what you can contribute to a conversation and feel more prepared. You should also think of relevant conversation starters, icebreakers, or a personal story to initiate an interesting exchange.
Tip #3 Smile and Be Approachable
Finally, make sure you seem approachable for people to talk to. RoAne proposes some easy ways to do this are with a welcoming smile or an interesting article of clothing – like a fun tie or a unique piece of jewelry. The idea is to create an opportunity to start a dialogue, establish some common ground and show a bit of your personality. Once the conversation is flowing, it will be much simpler to forge great connections, both personally and professionally.
Connecting with others is far more comfortable when you’re prepared, confident and naturally yourself – This way, people get the chance to get to know you well. Follow these networking tips the next time you have trouble making connections.
We are part of many professional organizations and would love to assist you in developing a knack for networking. For more information about networking opportunities in our area, contact our office.