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10 Surefire Ways To Boost Your Networking

10 Surefire Ways To Boost Your Networking
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Do you want to improve your networking skills? Many people struggle with shyness, awkwardness, and insincerity; check out 10 sure-fire ways to boost your networking skills.

1. Research The Event Before You Go

Before you attend an event where there will be people you don’t know, do your research. Figuring out the dress code and the theme of the event will help you to perfect your outfit, attitude, and approach. It will also help you to prepare some great conversation starters.

Mental preparation will help you to walk into a room feeling confident and comfortable instead of unsure.

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2. Describe Yourself Differently

Most people choose to describe themselves to strangers by saying their name and job. However, unless you have a unique name and a fascinating job, this probably won’t help the conversation go further.

Give them a little more to work with; provide a more general and mysterious description, offering the person a chance to ask you a few questions. A good way to do this is to say what your job consists of, rather than the title, or mention a quirky part of your job.

3. Focus On Others Instead Of Yourself

Lots of people consider themselves to be shy, and the number is increasing, going from 40% in 1995 to 50% in 2007.

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One easy way to get rid of shyness is to take the attention off of yourself and instead focus on the person you are networking with. Instead of feeling awkward and trying to stop feeling shy, put your attention on helping the other person to relax and feel comfortable.

4. Network With Everyone

At networking events, there are probably specific people that you want to talk to. While this could be beneficial to you, don’t cut off your other options; the event is likely filled with other people, partners, spouses, and children.

While you don’t need to speak to everyone, it can help you to get noticed by the people you want to speak to. Being polite and friendly to everyone guarantees that you will always make a great first impression.

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5. Prepare A Short Introduction

Preparing a short introduction will help to remove any fear of starting conversations and makes you more likely to make a good first impression.

Create a warm, friendly introduction, and follow this up with an interesting statement or two about yourself.  Don’t rehearse this in front of the mirror; these are simply statements about yourself. You want to seem genuine rather than insincere.

6. Work On Finding A Conversational Balance

It is important to find a good conversational balance; if you talk too much, you can seem brash and self-involved, and if you are very quiet you can seem disinterested. It is important to keep the conversation flowing, so try to make sure everyone is contributing equally.

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7. Focus On Super Connecting

Networking isn’t all about number one; it can be really beneficial to introduce people you know who could benefit from meeting each other. They will both be grateful for your assistance, and it is likely they will both try to assist you later – or even better, they may introduce you to people whom they know could help you.

8. Network With The Person Who Is Standing Alone

The easiest person to talk to at a networking event is the person alone. They could be very shy and they may be relieved that someone is talking to them. They will appreciate the gesture, and it is likely they will put an extra bit of effort into the conversation.

9. Smile To Make A Great Impression

First impressions mean a lot; according to research from Princeton University, people decide if you are trustworthy or not after looking at your face for 34 milliseconds. Make those milliseconds count by relaxing the muscles in your face and smiling.

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10. Finish The Conversation Gracefully

Don’t let the end of your conversation affect your networking for the worse; don’t interrupt anyone who is talking, have a reason for leaving, smile as you say goodbye, and shake hands if it is appropriate. Even though you are leaving, this guarantees the person will remember you as polite, pleasant, and genuine.

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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 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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