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10 Ways To Be Magnetic At Any Networking Event

10 Ways To Be Magnetic At Any Networking Event

Do you struggle to network? Networking events can seem scary and intimidating to many people, but these events can be hugely beneficial to your career or your life in general. If you want to become a better networker, check out these 10 ways to become magnetic at any networking event.

1. Be aware that others are uncomfortable too

If you are feeling nervous about a networking event, try to think about the fact that the people you are about to meet are probably as nervous as you are. Studies show that being shy is very common, with 58% of Americans identifying as shy. Instead of worrying about how shy you feel, acknowledge that everyone is in the same boat.

2. Focus on others rather than yourself

Before you walk into the networking event, shift your perspective. Many people go into social situations wondering how to make themselves comfortable, but one of the easiest ways to relax is to focus on making other people feel comfortable.

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3. Prepare yourself

Before you go to an event or meet new people, do your research and prepare yourself. Make sure you know the theme of the event and who might possibly be in attendance. This will help you to personalize your approach, attitude, and outfit – three of the most important parts of networking.

If you are still feeling nervous, prepare a few conversation starters in advance. This will make it easier for you to comfortably approach people, and it also means you will have to do less thinking on the spot.

4. Smile

Studies have shown that it only takes people 34 milliseconds to make a snap judgment about someone, so focus on smiling and looking relaxed. You want the first impression to be a good one.

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5. Prepare a short introduction

A good way to get conversation naturally flowing is to pre-prepare a short introduction. Don’t focus on how many seconds it is, instead plan a warm introduction, followed by two statements about yourself. This gives the other person the option to comment on your statements, opening up a natural dialogue.

6. Learn to say “and how about you?”

After introducing yourself and explaining your role, shift the attention onto the person you are talking to. Avoid asking closed questions like “What do you do?” or “Why are you here tonight?” Instead, ask an open question, such as “And how about you?”

This gives the person more opportunity to direct the conversation to an area they are interested in, so they can have an enjoyable conversation rather than a polite one.

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7. Find a more interesting way to talk about your job

Many people introduce themselves by stating their name and their job title. However, unless you have a fascinating job, this introduction can actually be a conversation killer – it’s the same thing everyone else starts with. Try to find a more interesting way to talk about your job to help spark a good conversation. Instead of saying that you build homes, say that you put roofs over people’s heads. This will help you to draw interest and create a more genuinely interesting conversation.

8. Read regularly

Reading newspapers, magazines, and books will help you to be a stronger conversationalist, which is beneficial when networking. Being able to discuss current topical events and literature will put you in good stead with most people you talk to, and it means you won’t fall short if the subjects come up.

9. Don’t wait to be approached

Many people are scared of initiating contact – instead of waiting for someone to come over to you, grab the bull by its horns and make the first move. Walk up to a group with your back straight, smile warmly, and make eye contact. Projecting confidence will help you to be more courageous, and it will help the other person feel at ease.

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10. Talk To The Person Who Is Alone

The person that is easiest to talk to is always the person standing alone. It is likely they feel shy and awkward, and they will feel grateful to the person who understands that and approaches them. When you make the effort to go over to someone, it projects a friendly and interested attitude, which the other person will be thankful for.

Can you think of any other useful networking tips? Comment your ideas below!

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Amy Johnson

Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

Office politics – a taboo word for some people. It’s a pervasive thing at the workplace.

In its simplest form, workplace politics is simply about the differences between people at work; differences in opinions, conflicts of interests are often manifested as office politics. It all goes down to human communications and relationships.

There is no need to be afraid of office politics. Top performers are those who have mastered the art of winning in office politics. Below are 7 good habits to help you win at the workplace:

1. Be Aware You Have a Choice

The most common reactions to politics at work are either fight or flight. It’s normal human reaction for survival in the wild, back in the prehistoric days when we were still hunter-gatherers.

Sure, the office is a modern jungle, but it takes more than just instinctive reactions to win in office politics. Instinctive fight reactions will only cause more resistance to whatever you are trying to achieve; while instinctive flight reactions only label you as a pushover that people can easily take for granted. Neither options are appealing for healthy career growth.

Winning requires you to consciously choose your reactions to the situation. Recognize that no matter how bad the circumstances, you have a choice in choosing how you feel and react. So how do you choose? This bring us to the next point…

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2. Know What You Are Trying to Achieve

When conflicts happen, it’s very easy to be sucked into tunnel-vision and focus on immediate differences. That’s a self-defeating approach. Chances are, you’ll only invite more resistance by focusing on differences in people’s positions or opinions.

The way to mitigate this without looking like you’re fighting to emerge as a winner in this conflict is to focus on the business objectives. In the light of what’s best for the business, discuss the pros and cons of each option. Eventually, everyone wants the business to be successful; if the business don’t win, then nobody in the organization wins.

It’s much easier for one to eat the humble pie and back off when they realize the chosen approach is best for the business.

By learning to steer the discussion in this direction, you will learn to disengage from petty differences and position yourself as someone who is interested in getting things done. Your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is mature, strategic and can be entrusted with bigger responsibilities.

3. Focus on Your Circle of Influence

At work, there are often issues which we have very little control over. It’s not uncommon to find corporate policies, client demands or boss mandates which affects your personal interests.

Gossiping and complaining are common responses to these events that we cannot control. But think about it, other than that short term emotional outlet, what tangible results do gossiping really accomplish? In most instances, none.

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Instead of feeling victimized and angry about the situation, focus on the things that you can do to influence the situation — your circle of influence. This is a very empowering technique to overcome the feeling of helplessness. It removes the victimized feeling and also allows others to see you as someone who knows how to operate within given constraints.

You may not be able to change or decide on the eventual outcome but, you can walk away knowing that you have done the best within the given circumstances.

Constraints are all around in the workplace; with this approach, your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is understanding and positive.

4. Don’t Take Sides

In office politics, it is possible to find yourself stuck in between two power figures who are at odds with each other. You find yourself being thrown around while they try to outwit each other and defend their own position; all at the expense of you getting the job done. You can’t get them to agree on a common decision for a project, and neither of them want to take ownership of issues; they’re too afraid they’ll get stabbed in the back for any mishaps.

In cases like this, focus on the business objectives and don’t take side with either of them – even if you like one better than the other. Place them on a common communication platform and ensure open communications among all parties, so that no one can claim “I didn’t say that”.

By not taking sides, you’ll help to direct conflict resolution in an objective manner. You’ll also build trust with both parties. That’ll help to keep the engagements constructive and focus on business objectives.

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5. Don’t Get Personal

In office politics, you’ll get angry with people. It happens. There will be times when you feel the urge to give that person a piece of your mind and teach him a lesson. Don’t.

People tend to remember moments when they were humiliated or insulted. Even if you win this argument and get to feel really good about it for now, you’ll pay the price later when you need help from this person. What goes around comes around, especially at the workplace.

To win in the office, you’ll want to build a network of allies which you can tap into. The last thing you want during a crisis or an opportunity is to have someone screw you up because they harbor ill-intentions towards you – all because you’d enjoyed a brief moment of emotional outburst at their expense.

Another reason to hold back your temper is your career advancement. Increasingly, organizations are using 360 degree reviews to promote someone. Even if you are a star performer, your boss will have to fight a political uphill battle if other managers or peers see you as someone who is difficult to work with. The last thing you’ll want is to make it difficult for your boss to champion you for a promotion.

6. Seek to Understand, Before Being Understood

The reason people feel unjustified is because they felt misunderstood. Instinctively, we are more interested in getting the others to understand us than to understand them first. Top people managers and business leaders have learned to suppress this urge.

Surprisingly, seeking to understand is a very disarming technique. Once the other party feels that you understand where he/she is coming from, they will feel less defensive and be open to understand you in return. This sets the stage for open communications to arrive at a solution that both parties can accept.

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Trying to arrive at a solution without first having this understanding is very difficult – there’s little trust and too much second-guessing.

7. Think Win-Win

As mentioned upfront, political conflicts happen because of conflicting interests. Perhaps due to our schooling, we are taught that to win, someone else needs to lose. Conversely, we are afraid to let someone else win, because it implies losing for us.

In business and work, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Learn to think in terms of “how can we both win out of this situation?” This requires that you first understand the other party’s perspective and what’s in it for him.

Next, understand what’s in it for you. Strive to seek out a resolution that is acceptable and beneficial to both parties. Doing this will ensure that everyone truly commit to the agreed resolution and will not pay only lip-service to it.

People simply don’t like to lose. You may get away with win-lose tactics once or twice but very soon, you’ll find yourself without allies in the workplace.

Thinking win-win is an enduring strategy that builds allies and help you win in the long term.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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