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.
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.
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.
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.
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.