Networking is advantageous for job seekers as well as those who already have their dream gigs. Whenever possible, you should be seizing opportunities to mingle and build upon your contacts. Like I said, even if you’re not actively looking for new employment, getting your name out there is good. It can help you in unexpected ways, or when you’re looking for a new job sometime down the road.
Maybe you’re not in the middle of a job search. So what? Having more people on your side will only benefit you in the future. Whether you need someone to put in a good word with a boss, or you need a place to stay, having contacts can come in handy.
Some of the attendees of a particular event may not seem worth your time, but connecting with one person will connect you with others, eventually leading you to someone of assistance to you.
Not only can it boost your career, networking can also boost your mood. Interacting with people will not only improve your social skills, but it will also help you feel connected, bringing you good feelings. As it turns out, smiling and networking work together.
If it doesn’t come naturally to you, you should learn methods to improve your networking skills. It will be worth your time and, with practice, you’ll get better and find it comes easier to you. There are certainly networking practices you want to avoid, but here are some to pursue:
If your event features speakers and lectures, you’ll want to make the most of the before and after socializing hours. If appropriate, pass time in lounges or outside the lectures in order to talk freely with others. Silently listening to a speaker or lecture does have its advantages, but it doesn’t make for good networking practice.
All the faces of a company event can blur together. Make yourself stand out. You don’t want to look goofy or garish, so find a balance that’s special and still appropriate. By differentiating yourself from the pack, in some way or another, you will make yourself more memorable. If you’re not remembered, is the interaction even worth your time?
Make your face stand out, and distribute a name reminder for backup. While differentiated faces can be easy to hold on to, names are tricky. Have business cards available and bring a sufficient amount with you to important company events. Pass them out generously, but don’t be pushy. Make sure that handing one off makes sense and feels natural in the moment. You don’t want to repel decent connections by forcefully or awkwardly shoving cards at them.
Before the event commences, know who is going to be there, that way you can brace yourself for certain company. Think about who you want to meet and possibly learn a little bit about those individuals.
Knowing information ahead of time should not deter you from being yourself, as you should always be genuine. However, being familiar with some of the interests of potential connections can help steer conversation into a memorable and positive light.
Familiarize yourself with the above list before your next company event. Even social gatherings have networking opportunities, so be prepared to turn on your charm. Order some business cards, scan the guest list and mingle away.
Image: Alex de Carvalho
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