The Secrets To Being Successful At Networking
Do you want to get ahead in the business world? If the answer is yes then you need to learn one very important skill. That skill is networking. You may be asking yourself why exactly is networking such an important thing to learn. Some of the common benefits of networking are opportunities, exposure, contacts and relationships, establishing common ground, and learning!
About 80% of jobs in the workforce estimated to never be advertised, instead they are filled through networking and employee referrals. This goes to show that sometimes it’s who you know instead of what you know.
One of the most challenging aspects about networking for most people is having to strike up conversations with total strangers. Come prepared with conversation aimed at who you want to network with. Stay up on current events so that you can come off as an intelligent in the moment person. Also you may want to prepare two or three targeted questions towards the person you are trying to network with. Questions about their interests, their career, etc. etc.
When attending events where you are likely to be able to network you should so your research before you go. Who is going to be attending, what are their names, their job titles, things like this will help you scope out who you most want to connect with. Also come prepared with a small pitch about yourself and why you could be a valuable asset.
Work the room at an event. Get their early and be the last to leave. This gives you more opportunity to make connections with people. It also helps to have a part of your wardrobe that might be an interesting conversation starter to help get the ball rolling. Look for groups of 3 people, it’s likely in this social dynamic that one of the three isn’t actively involved in the conversation and may make it easier for you to start one with them.
Even if a conversation seems like the most interesting thing you’ve ever heard remember to limit yourself to a little longer than 5 minutes or so. This way you have more opportunities to converse with other people at the function and the chance to possibly build more networking connections. Keep Your body language in check at all times! You don’t want to come off rude to someone that you may be trying to get into their good graces with.
Be a good listener! This is key. This means you’re part of the conversation should be about 80 % listening and 20% talking. Dress for the job you want, not the job you currently have. If you want a certain type of job you have to look the part as well as act the part. And remember flattery works well on just about everyone, give a compliment here and there but don’t lay it on too thick as it might come off as un-genuine.
A pocket full of business cards is almost an absolute must when trying to network. Also using social networking sites as a tool to your advantage will help you out a lot. Also try and remember that building genuine relationships and connections takes time. The more you put into a relationship the more likely you are to benefit from it in the long run. Never ever ask for a favor right out of the gate. Most people are turned off by this type of behavior. Lay the ground work first.
Remember networking is not about selling yourself. It is first and foremost about building relationships. Those relationships may later come into play depending on who they know and opportunities they can provide you with. So stay in touch without asking for favors all the time. If that is all your relationship is based on it’s going to be a short relationship. Also remember if they do help you out with their connections a simple thank you goes a long way.
Now get out there and start building up your network. You never know who you might meet at these functions so always keep a positive attitude and a smile on your face!