Today, more than ever, networking tricks are not just key elements in helping you get the job you want but also in helping you stitch together the perfect social circle. The fact that the world has gotten so connected makes it all the more vital you put the best foot forward when presenting yourself and your brand – whether that being at conferences or social gatherings. We’re not all born with the gift of the gab though so here are 8 networking tricks to nudge you in the right direction toward true networking mastery.

1. Figure out how you can help

When you’re connecting with another person you should always be thinking of ways you can help this person. You HAVE to deliver value before you can receive value.

Being a model, I often found myself at fancy fashion parties surrounded by well-connected stylists and photographers etc. Obviously, I wanted to keep on getting invited to fancy fashion parties with hot models – and maybe their friendship if they were cool. So I always made an effort in figuring out how I could help this person.

Was the person struggling with learning a new language, or getting fit? Those are just ways I could be of value – in which ways can you?

You have to make sure your offer is tailored though. You do not want to just blurt out stuff like; Hey, you’re not in the greatest shape – want some help?

Figure out what they’re struggling with, in a non-naggy way of course, and see how that fits your expertise or someone you can introduce them to.

2. Use accomplishment introductions

Meet my friend Tom. Tom is the best pastry chef I know!” Introducing your friends to each other through their accomplishments is probably among the most powerful networking tricks in your arsenal.

Using this networking hack will not only make you come across as an awesome person to both parties, but it is also the only non-douche’y way of bragging. See, once you start bragging on your friends’ behalves they will appreciate and catch up on this and will begin to do the same for you. Win-win.

3. Be a connector

Connecting like-minded people in your social circle is powerful. It will multiply your likability tenfold. You want to be known around town as a person who connects great people and dishes out value everywhere he goes. The world is so abundant with great people and if you introduce them to each other it will make them like you so much more.

This networking hack is especially easy to deploy at events and conferences; people are usually there for mutual interests or reasons, so tailoring an introduction that will spark an interest with the other person, is easier here than in any other situation. Make introducing like-minded people a habit and you will not only have a perfectly tailored social circle but all these people will know each other because of you and it will greatly increase your cool person points in their book.

Photo credit:  melanerpist (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)I always do research before going to events. This is one of my most used networking tricks. If I’m going to a meet up on a certain topic, I will make sure I’m up to date on what’s trending among this demographic. If I’m going to party, I check the Facebook event and see if there are any attractive females attending – (don’t pretend you don’t do this). For some people preparing for events by doing research on people or subjects might seem like you’re trying too hard, but these are the people who suck at networking.

Spend a few minutes going through the other attendees’ profiles; have you liked similar pages? This is a great networking hack for checking if you have things in common. It’s also a good way of weeding out people you probably would not get along with as well; most often than not, you can tell if you would vibe with a person based solely on how they come across on their photos or what music and movies they’re into.

5. Keep topics relatable

Groups of friends who go to events just to stand around and talk about non-relatable topics, are hard to play ball with. If you have to bring up things that people outside your little club wouldn’t immediately understand, at least do the effort of explaining the context and back story to the person who’s not in the know. You might as well have stayed at home in your tree house with your super BFFs if you’re just going to be doing your own thing all night. So be polite and make it an even playing field.

Also be aware of the people who are trying to get included in your conversation. Unless there is an unnatural gap in conversation, there really is no smooth way for them to include themselves. As soon as you notice them trying to join your semi circle, break your friend’s or your own thread and introduce the newcomer. If you don’t, it’s equally awkward for all parties with the person just standing there, so pause your thread and bring them in – you can always pick up where you left off.

More tips for having productive conversation: 8 Tips for Having Productive Conversation

6. Use people’s names

Just like Dale Carnegie said; the sweetest thing for any person to hear is his or her own name. There is something weirdly attractive about people who use your name a lot. They give you the notion that you have their utmost attention, by underlining that they are speaking to you and no one else.

Their being fully present with you makes them extremely likeable. Notice how people who don’t keep eye contact or Instagram during a conversation seem to have the opposite effect. It gives you the feeling that you are merely a tool for them vent or think aloud through.

So use people’s names and be present.

7. Be ready to eject

You don’t want to get stuck talking with the same person all night. This will keep you from meeting new awesome people obviously. I remember going to a meet up and getting stuck with this one super persistent Romanian dude who was going on about the China Study while I was searching the inside of my head for excuses for bailing.

You don’t want the event to be over and all you did was listen to Miroslav’s opinions on why a plant based diet is the bee’s knees.

So preparing a few exit strategies is a good idea. They don’t have to be too intricate. Excusing yourself to go to the loo or saying you have to sort out an important email will suffice.

Image by Jason A. Howie. Used under a Creative Commons License.

8. Follow up

Following up is really where you hit the nail the last bit of the way in. I don’t need to stress how great social media is for this.

Just a short message saying it was cool chatting, and referring to a thing you mentioned during your conversation so you have a non-needy excuse for hitting them up. This is one of the best networking tricks, since now they can see the photos of you practicing at the archery range or you catching ridiculous air at the half-pipe. You won’t have to mention how awesome you are – Facebook does that for you.

Controlled social media stalking ensures you don’t run out of topics to talk about when you meet again.

Find out more secrets of the socially successful: 10 Secrets of The Socially Successful

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