The Importance of Networking
- by Marina Boor
- 2 Feb 2016
This month's workshop focussed on networking and it got me thinking about what an important skill networking is at all stages of your career. It's not easy and it takes time, but using some of these tips, it can be an enjoyable experience!
Set (small) Goals
Picture the scene. You've walked into a room of 50 people, they're all chatting away and it's much easier to grab a drink from the bar, look at the artwork on the wall or take an 'important' phone call than to actually approach someone.
By setting yourself small goals for the event you'll have something tangible to aim for and you're less likely to walk away. It could be as big as challenging yourself to take (and give out) 20 business cards or as small as talking to three people you've never met before.
Whatever it is, having a goal in mind will keep you focussed and will give you something to improve on each time.
Prepare your 'top line'
If talking to someone new sends you running to the hills with fear, think of a 10 second line about you, what you do and why you're attending the event. I have a sentence like this in the back of my mind when I'm introducing myself - it gives me something to fall back on if I forget everything else!
Make them feel like the most important person in the world
Many people think that to be a good networker, you have to be an extrovert when often the opposite is true. As an introvert, I find that I'm better at listening - a key skill when talking to someone new. Everyone likes to feel important so really take the time to listen to what people have to say and ask questions.
It'll also give you some interesting points to pick up with when you connect with them after the event.
Close the Conversation
Closing a conversation is just as important as your introduction. Too many times people find themselves without business cards or completely forget to ask to swap contact details. If you have a genuine reason to talk to that person again, suggestion you email or call them to continue the conversation. Even if you don't think you have a reason to talk to that person now, always thank them for their time - you never know when you might bump into them again.