For any gathering – personal or professional, here are the 6 easy steps for networking success. Reprinted from “Six Habits That Will Make You a Networking Pro”, by Rhett Power.
If you're like me networking isn't easy and I've had to learn to make the most of events I attend. With a little practice and confidence, you can get more comfortable making the most of networking events. The better you get at it the further you can go with your career. These 6 tips will help you get better:
1. Practice Your Introduction
Practice your 30 second elevator pitch and hit the highlights that get people’s attention. Practice your introduction over and over until it just comes out easy. That will make approaching people much easier and much more comfortable. Practice will give you confidence and confidence is critical.
Too often, we spend conversations waiting for the other person to finish speaking so that we can chime in with our own wit or wisdom. People love to talk about themselves. Indeed, there's nothing they love to talk about more. Give them plenty of room to do so. We have one mouth and two ears for a good reason. Talk less, listen more.
3. Make Eye Contact
Look them in the eye, for just a second longer than seems appropriate. Chances are it's just the right amount. The eyes are the gateway to the soul, and eye contact shows that you are interested and empathetic enough to pay close attention.
4. Ask Questions
Not only does this show that you've been listening, but it's a treat for the other people in the conversation. You can usually tell if someone is passionate about something. Ask questions about that passion, encourage them to talk about it further. Chances are, they're practically bursting to tell someone about their daughter's piano talents, or their fantasy football team. Ask them about it, and they will love you forever.
5. Remember Their Name
"But I'm terrible with names!" Sorry, friend, but that is one thing you will want to overcome. Names are crucial. No sound to any human being is sweeter than the sound of their own name. If you remember, it means you believe them important enough to be remembered, and that speaks volumes. Don't just learn names, remember them. Don't just remember them, use them frequently.
Simple, right? Often times the smallest things make the biggest difference. It feels so much better speaking with someone who smiles frequently. If you smile, it will make you so much more approachable and attractive to others in the conversation. Doing so might even make you happier in the process.