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10 Surefire Ways To Boost Your Networking

10 Surefire Ways To Boost Your Networking

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.

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

Freelance writer, editor and social media manager.

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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