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Impress The Important Ones At Networking Events By Following This 5-Step Plan

Impress The Important Ones At Networking Events By Following This 5-Step Plan

Regardless of your age or profession, you cannot escape the importance that networking plays in defining modern-day career success. While older professionals may claim that they have developed their career to date without adopting aggressive networking practices, changes to the way in which employers evaluate and recruit candidates for work mean that these are now increasingly important.

This applies to both virtual and physical networking practices, which are known to deliver a return in terms of human and monetary capital. By targeting relevant networks online and attending physical meetings and events, it is possible to cultivate a strong presence among your peers and earn new business contracts.

A 5-Step Plan for impressing your Peers at Networking Events

With this in mind, here is a five-step plan for successfully targeting relevant networking events and impressing your fellow attendees:

1. Thoroughly Research Relevant Events and Establish Specific Goals

If you are determined to make an impression, it is imperative that you prepare fully and establish event-specific goals prior to attending. This is because not all events are created equal, and while some may not be relevant to your service others may be aimed at a niche demographic of attendees.

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Fortunately, you can use LinkedIn to search for relevant events, either through your own contacts or groups or by perusing a comprehensive list of open communities on the site. From here, you can review the description of the event and research individual members, while also reviewing the topics that tend to be discussed both online and at physical network meetings. If you want to conduct a more comprehensive search, you can also follow any event-specific hashtags on Twitter and connect with some of the listed attendees.

With a clear understanding of an event, its purpose and regular attendees, you can begin to establish event specific goals and identify the people that will help you to achieve them. Prioritise the people that you want to connect with based on their role and level of influence, before preparing topics for discussion that can provide an entry point into a longer-term relationship.

2. Establish your Presence as a Thought Leader

Attempting to network successfully should be a long-term goal, and it may require significant time and effort to achieve this. After you have begun to target networks and specific events, for example, the next step is to connect with members and establish your presence as a knowledgeable and proactive thought leader.

Thought leadership can essentially be described as the entry point into a relationship, and there are a number of ways that you can use this to engage event members and connections. Apart from adopting a proactive role in communicating with fellow members and introducing new members that can add value to the group, you should take the opportunity to publish and share information that is relevant to your industry. Look to share insightful, real-time news items with contacts through Twitter and LinkedIn, for example, using the content to spark debates and social conversations.

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You should also look to use blogging as a viable thought leadership tool, publishing industry-relevant content that can intrigue and challenge members of the group. If you do follow this particular course, focus on developing detailed and informative posts that are consistent, topical and ultimately relevant to the theme of the networking event.

3. Attend the Event well-resourced and Immaculately Presented

After a period of time, you will have established yourself as a revered and well-liked member of your specific networking group. This makes the process of engaging fellow members in person at a networking event far easier, although your hard work can be undone if you are ultimately unprepared or make a poor physical impression.

To begin with, make sure that you are smartly and appropriately dressed for the occasion. Remember that this is a professional event, and you should wear similar attire as you would when attending a job interview or client meeting. Business-casual attire should be fine, although if you are in doubt research previous events for photographic evidence of how other members dressed. By presenting an immaculate appearance, you will underline the fact that you are taking the event seriously and reinforce your value as a network member.

In terms of preparation, you will also need to make sure that you have a set of professional business cards with you when you attend the event. If you leave these at home or simply forget to share them with fellow members, you may undermine the impression that you make at the event. Similarly, be sure to retain the business cards of key influencers who you have yet to connect with online, and strive to initiate further content within 24 hours of the event.

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4. Develop an Emotive, Human Connection

We have already spoken about the importance of creating an entry point into a relationship prior to attending an event, and it is crucial to build on this by developing a human connection when meeting people in person. This can help to create business relationships that transcend an online network, establishing bonds that are genuine and based on multiple emotive factors such as trust, integrity and shared pursuits.

This type of emotive, human connection depends on effective communication skills, and more specifically the ability to ask insightful questions and listen intently to the answers. While the primary goal of any networking event may be to build a more successful career, it is crucial that you strive to develop mutually beneficial relationships that can stand the test of time. Strive to understand the underlying qualities of fellow members and their unique motivation to succeed, absorbing their responses to learn more and get a clearer understanding of them as individuals.

According to Tony Robbins, the quality and insightfulness of your questioning correlates to the quality of your life, which in turn reinforces your value as an individual. Above all else, the process of engaging individuals in a two-way conversation and learning from their responses lays the foundation for a distinctly human relationship.

5. Follow up after the Event and maintain a Tenacious approach to Communication

While you may adopt a focused approach to identifying and attending viable events, others are far more prolific on the networking scene. So even if you are successful in engaging potential contacts and making a positive impression, this will mean little if you fail to follow-up with regular and proactive communication.

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If you are not to become just another face in the crowd, it is crucial that you are tenacious in your approach and connect further with the attendees who you met at the event. Aside from continuing your role as an active member of the group’s online interaction through LinkedIn and Twitter, you should also follow-up by sending emails to those who you connected with thanking them for their time and insight. Once they respond, you can continue to communicate and create a two-way dialogue in-between networking events.

On a note of caution, be sure to maintain some boundaries when communicating with fellow members. Use professional means of communication only, while also targeting individuals with whom you developed a significant rapport. This ensures that every interaction is natural and capable of being sustained over time.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay – Life of Pixs via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on May 17, 2019

This Is What Happens When You Move Out Of the Comfort Zone

This Is What Happens When You Move Out Of the Comfort Zone

The pursuit of worthwhile goals is a part of what makes life enjoyable. Being able to set a goal, then see yourself progress towards achieving that goal is an amazing feeling.

But do you know the biggest obstacle for most people trying to achieve their goals, the silent dream killer that stops people before they ever even get started? That obstacle is the comfort zone, and getting stuck there is bound to derail any efforts you make towards achieving the goals you’ve set for yourself.

If you want to achieve those goals, you’ll have to break free from your comfort zone. Let’s take a look at how your life will change once you build up the courage to leave your comfort zone.

What Is the Comfort Zone?

The comfort zone is defined as “a behavioural state within which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviours to deliver a steady level of performance.”

What stands out to me the most about that definition is the last part: “using a limited set of behaviours to deliver a steady level of performance.” How many successful people do you know who deliver a steady level of performance?

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The goal in life is to continually challenge yourself, and continually improve yourself. And in order to do that, you have move out of your comfort zone. But once you do, your life will start to change in ways you could never have imagined. I know because it’s happening right now in my own life.

Here’s what I’ve learned.

1. You will be scared

Leaving your comfort zone isn’t easy. In fact, in can be downright terrifying at times, and that’s okay. It’s perfectly normal to feel a little trepidation when you’re embarking on a journey that forces you to try new things.

So don’t freak out or get overwhelmed when you feel yourself getting a little scared. It’s perfectly normal and all part of the process. What’s important is that you don’t let that fear hold you back. You must continue to take action in the face of fear.

That’s what separates winners from losers.

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2. You will fail

Stepping out of your comfort zone means you’re moving into uncharted territory. You’re trying things that you’ve never tried before, and learning things you’ve never learned before.

That steep learning curve means you’re not going to get everything right the first time, and you will eventually fail when you move out of your comfort zone. But as long as the failures aren’t catastrophic, it can actually be a good thing to fail because …

3. You will learn

Failure is the best teacher. I’ve learned more from each one of my failures than I have from each one of my successes. When you fail small, and fail often, you rapidly increase the rate at which you learn new insights and skills. And that new knowledge, if applied correctly, will eventually lead to your success.

4. You will see yourself in a different way

Once you move out of your comfort zone, you immediately prove to yourself that you’re capable of achieving more than you thought was possible. And that will change the way you see yourself.

Moving forward, you’ll have more confidence in yourself whenever you step out of your comfort zone, and that increased confidence will make it more likely that you continue to step outside your comfort zone. And each time you do, you’ll prove to yourself again and again what you’re really capable of.

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5. Your peers will see you in a different way

Whether we want to admit or not, people judge other people. And right now, people view you in a certain way, and they have a certain idea of what you’re capable of. That’s because they’ve become accustomed to seeing you operate in your comfort zone.

But once you move out of your comfort zone, you’ll prove to other people, as well, that you’re capable of much more than you’ve shown in the past.

The increased confidence other people place in you will bring about more opportunities than ever before.

6. Your comfort zone will expand

The good thing about the comfort zone is that it’s flexible and malleable. With each action you take outside of your comfort zone, it expands. And once you master that new skill or action, it eventually becomes part of your comfort zone.

This is great news for you because it means that you can constantly increase and improve upon the behaviors that you’re comfortable with. And the more tools and skills you have at your disposal, the easier it will be to achieve your goals.

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7. You will increase your concentration and focus

When you’re living inside of your comfort zone, the bulk of your actions are habitual: automatic, subconscious, and requiring limited focus.

But once you move out of your comfort zone, you no longer rely on those habitual responses. You’re forced to concentrate and focus on the new action in a way you never do in your comfort zone.

8. You will develop new skills

Moving out of your comfort zone requires that you develop new skills. One of the many benefits you’ll experience is that you’ll be stepping away from the “limited set of behaviors” and start to develop your ability and expertise in new areas.

Living inside of your comfort zone only requires a limited skill set, and those skills won’t contribute much to your success. Once you can confidently step outside of your comfort zone and learn a new skill, there’s no limit to how much you can achieve.

9. You will achieve more than before

With everything that happens once you move out of your comfort zone, you’re naturally going to achieve more than ever before.

Your increased concentration and focus will help you develop new skills. Those new skills will change the way you see yourself, encouraging you to step even further out of your comfort zone.

Featured photo credit: Josef Grunig via farm3.staticflickr.com

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