When it comes to networking, it’s all about the first impression. Whether you’re looking to start your career or make connections in your field, networking can do wonders in the world of business.
So, when it comes to chatting up possible colleagues keep it authentic. You’re most honest self is the best first impression that you can make. Wondering how you can do that? Here are 8 of my favorite tips on how to network without being fake.
1. Be Honest In Your Intentions
Are you looking for a job? A possible business connection? Be honest. People are more likely to relate to your situation if you are upfront with them.
After you introduce yourself, it’s best to state your intentions while speaking with them. If you idolize their business model, and want to learn from them, tell them!
People won’t know what you want unless you tell them directly. Don’t expect anyone to read in-between the lines.
2. Be Appreciative
Take the time to let people know that you appreciate talking with them. This shows a level of respect that will be memorable to those around you.
3. Be Humble
While mentioning your triumphs doesn’t hurt, bragging does. Don’t spend most of your conversation talking about how you basically saved your company from total destruction.
Causally mention a project that you were proud to work on instead. Your attitude on the matter will speak for itself. Remember that your accomplishments are only part of your work ethic.
4. Be Aware Of Body Language
Is your stance too aggressive? Are you keeping eye contact? Being aware of your own personal body language allows you to focus on others’ posture as well.
Having a welcoming, open body stance allows others to perceive you as friendly and inviting. When networking, body language is key.
5. Keep It Positive
No one likes a negative Nancy. Avoid any office gossip or negative commentary. Keep your conversation light and positive in order to maintain a good impression.
6. Ask The Right Questions
Before you begin a networking conversation, ask what is really important to you. Do you really want to know how someone handles their day-to-day job, or do you want to know how they got there? Asking the questions that you really want the answers too will benefit you most in the long run.
7. Do Your Research
Before you head to a networking event, check the invite list or the event page to see who else will be in attendance. There may be some industry professionals that you are dying to meet. If so, do your research on their latest projects and accomplishments. This will add great gusto your conversation.
8. Follow Up
After you’ve accumulated multiple business cards and contact information, make sure to follow up with your new connection. Keep yourself fresh in the mind of your new contact by thanking them for their time, and mentioning a possible get together in the future.
What happens if they’re not there? Hunt down their contact information, introduce yourself, and mention you’re sorry you didn’t get the chance to connect at the event. Add that you would appreciate the opportunity grab [coffee/lunch/a beer] in the near future and discuss [whatever you’re dying to talk to them about].