Networking is at the heart of all human interaction. We make connections every day, online and offline, directly and indirectly.
You are networking wherever you go. Whether you’re saying a quick hello to someone at the grocery store, catching up with a friend for coffee or connecting with someone on LinkedIn, these connections continue to thrive.
Excellent people skills, social skills, intellect and a solid understanding of emotional intelligence can make you a great networker. This blog will help you harness your most substantial attributes to make the most of your networking endeavours and future interactions.
It’s time to stop overthinking.
Overthinking is natural. We create scenarios in our minds of how we envision interactions should be, often making situations more stressful. Think of each interaction as a coffee cup conversation: free-flowing, natural, and intriguing. Remove the word “networking” from as intimidating and replace it with the concept of “connection.”
Connections can open the door to various collaborations, volunteer opportunities, speaking engagements, media opportunities, and ultimately get you in the room with the movers and shakers of your industry.
Since we know networking events can be intimidating. Shuffle Social events incorporate both professional networking & casual socializing. Our events are hosted in relaxed environments – removing the intimidation factor so you can feel comfortable.
We know this is cliché and overused, but it holds when it comes to being a good networker. Nobody else can do the things you do, in the way that you can do them. Use your characteristics to your benefit and bring the best version of yourself to each interaction.
We’ve heard this time and time again but, first impressions matter. These initial impressions trickle down and play a massive role in how people perceive you and how they will remember you after each interaction. There’s no doubt that people can sense inauthenticity from miles away, both online and offline.
Don’t be too sales-y.
Have you ever come across someone who uses your interaction as an opportunity just to sell, sell, sell everything they have to offer? Perhaps you could tell this person was genuine and well-intentioned. Still, they were just too pushy and only kept connecting with you whenever they wanted you to buy their product or service.
We’re not saying that sales are a terrible thing. A business needs sales to survive, but there are effective tactics you can use to remain memorable without being pushy and in someone’s face.
The reason why networking is crucial is for you to have the opportunity to build relationships, genuinely. Yes, the sales will come, but only once people get to know you, like you and trust you.
Once you have made a connection, trust that others will invest in you and your services when they are ready to do so. People are more likely to purchase something from you when they have seen the value you provide and how genuine you are.
Remember to follow up.
Making connections is excellent. Keeping them is even better.
You attended an event, exchanged business cards, Instagram handles and added some pretty cool people you met on LinkedIn so you can stay connected. Some of them even expressed interest in your services. That’s perfect! But, have you taken the time to reconnect with them since? Perhaps you’re waiting for them to make the first move. Or maybe, you’re thinking, “But I already told them what I do, we had a great conversation. Why do I need to send another email to them?”
Following up can look different to everyone. Regardless of how the conversation went, sending a quick note to the other party saying it was great to meet them can keep that door open. Citing a memorable moment from that conversation is even better. This small interaction can keep you top of mind should they ever need your services. It may also lead to a potentially lucrative opportunity – you never know!
Maintain confident body language
We tend to resort to what’s comfortable for us and more often than not, we overlook body language as bad habits take over.
Maintaining great body language doesn’t have to feel fake, weird, or inauthentic. It just has to be in a way that seems natural for you.
Here are a few things to pay attention to when interacting with someone:
- Crossing your arms can be an indication of being closed off, even when you are listening intently.
- Avoiding eye contact can indicate a sense of inauthenticity or nervousness.
- Slouching can demonstrate a lack of confidence or inability to self-advocate.
- Fidgeting can show the other person that you’re nervous or anxious.
Even though we may not give our body language much thought, it plays a vital role in the flow of conversation. So how does one go about implementing positive body language? Think of it as the easy five:
- Confident yet relaxed stance
- Frequent eye contact
- Shoulders pulled up and back
- Arms out front instead of crossing them
- Lean into your conversations.
Mirror the body language of the person speaking to you. Allow their social cues to guide your next move. And most of all, smile, especially if the conversation warrants it.
Practice Active Listening
There is a saying, “You have two ears and a mouth so that you can listen more than you speak,” and it still rings true today. Most of us do this unintentionally, but we often listen to respond, instead of listening to understand the other person entirely.
Start by giving them your full attention by using the body language cues we mentioned above. Mirror their body language, and avoid the urge to interrupt them — no matter how compelling the topic is and if you too had a similar experience. Remember, this isn’t about you, this is about them.
When they finish making their point, recap the conversation before you share your viewpoint, this serves two purposes:
- It shows them you were listening.
- Assures them you understood them.
Practicing active listening is an art form in itself. It shows the opposing party that you value their time and energy, and more than that, you appreciate the information they are sharing with you.
Keep these six tips in mind whenever you are out networking and conversing with anyone to help you further refine your skills.
Want to test out these tips for yourself?
Join us at our upcoming networking event at Love Child Social House on Tuesday, January 14th, from 6-9 PM. Register here!
Enjoy reading this article? Drop a comment below or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org – we’d love to hear from you!