A beginner's guide to networking
We constantly read about the importance of networking in the business world. Today, we dive straight into the basics!
1. Be comfortable in your own skin.
You cannot be comfortable around other people if you're not comfortable with yourself first. Sharpen up your strengths and embrace your imperfections. Do not attempt to appropriate a different character than yours. An 'artificial' attitude can only alienate you from other people (and will eventually leave you psycho-socially exhausted at the end of the day).
2. Do not overthink it.
We often fall into the trap of thinking too much about other people's impressions of us or their potential reactions to a certain behavior that we end up refraining from making contact with them. Networking, however, is a lot about throwing yourself out there and learning from your social experiments. This will save you an awful lot of over-analysis.
3. Make the first move.
Do not just sit there waiting for other people to approach you. Start reaching out to people and initiating conversations. This might feel really awkward the first time but you'll definitely get better at it as you progress, until it ultimately becomes a reflexive habit.
4. Ask for business cards.
Came across someone interesting at an event? Do not hesitate to ask for their business card in the course of your conversation. This does not only help you save their contacts but also gives you the chance to hand them your business card in return.
5. Show interest.
A careless, indifferent attitude is the last thing you'd want to come anywhere near. Show your interest and involvement through eye contact, facial expressions and attention to detail. Enrich your responses with sympathetic expressions and give specific compliments/feedback to show people that you care about their stories, struggles, and achievements.
6. Follow up.
Do not just stagnate at the business card level. Take things a step further by connecting with your new acquaintances online, notably on professional social networking platforms such as LinkedIn, and engaging in meaningful online conversations (whenever suitable).
Cover credit: Careertuneup.org (full link)