How many of us switch on an undistinguishable tiny panic button when hearing the word networking? It’s the idea that we have to go to this after work thing, dressed in a business or business-casual attire, sip on some kind of beverage and put our best attitude forward just so we can get noticed and create relationships out of thin air, connect with people we are not confident we can connect with, making sure we don’t miss an opportunity to be out there. But it doesn’t have to be like that.
With the big Impact Hub Vienna 7th birthday’s celebrations looming on the horizon (it’s next week people! Details here ?) we thought we will help you out and teach you how to network with these 5 easy to implement tips on how to become a networking superstar.
1. Start the conversation
The whole point of a networking event is to give attendees the opportunity to meet people that they would otherwise not get the chance to meet. Whether you are alone or attending with friends, business partners or colleagues, take the time to look around and introduce yourself to someone outside your familiar circle. Easy conversation starters like asking opinions on the organization of the event, remarks about the venue/food/drinks or simply complimenting someone’s choice of accessorizing are topics that can create a more relaxed environment and get people talking faster.
2. Be genuine
Every networking event is frequented by smart, ambitious people that “hunt” for opportunities that only benefit themselves. It might seem that they get ahead in the short run, but in the long run, no one wants to work with or for someone who only thinks about themselves. If you want to create genuine relationships, don’t base your interactions solely on the thought of reciprocity. Smile, talk about your passions, identify what the other’s needs are and connect with them by trying to find a solution to their problem before you ask for something in return. Express your enjoyment, surprise or delight of meeting someone, only if you genuinely feel like the time spent together has provided you with those sentiments. People can generally feel and notice- whether consciously or not- when others are insincere and with networking you always want to aim for creating a positive impression.
3. Don’t be a snob for titles
We’ve all been there: you need to make a fast sale or are looking for a new job, so it seems imperative you talk to “the person in charge”. However, a lot of people forget that an organization is not just run by one single person and that there is a connectivity that happens at all levels of the company. So don’t dismiss someone just because you find his or her title is unimpressive. Instead, try to see what the person you are conversing with has to offer.
4. Have a plan
Planning ahead is generally a good application to life itself. Going with the flow might be an effective attitude if you are not sure where you want to end up, but when you want to reach a goal, having a plan or a structured idea can help you save time, avoid misunderstandings and uncomfortable situations. Knowing what you need to get out of the events you are attending is just as important as knowing what you can offer. If you get the chance, look up the people who will be attending ahead of time and structure your presentation accordingly.
5. Follow up
To get the most out of an event, follow up quickly. After the event, the hype and adrenaline of meeting so many people and listening to tons of pitches and stories tends to decrease -on some level we have already satisfied our need of connection and sharing, so most ideas and plans that were discussed remain just that- ideas and plans. However, people that do follow up on their contacts and persist in creating outcomes after the event are the ones that successfully and efficiently use the resources that were put at their disposition to stand out from the masses and actually generate the results a networking event is aiming for.
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