Studies show that the majority of jobs are found through networking. Even if you’re not looking for a job, the reality is that success often requires forging meaningful connections and partnerships beyond your close circle.
We know, we know – networking is easier said than done sometimes, especially if you’re not the most social person. Thankfully, there are some brilliant networking tricks that can make this increasingly-necessary skill painless for anyone.
Without further ado, here are some of those networking tricks. Start using them today, and you’ll be amazed at how far they take you:
Show up early
Showing up to a crowded event and seamlessly merging into a group of people deep in conversation is intimidating for just about anyone. That’s why Wendy Gelberg, author of The Successful Introvert: How to Enhance Your Job Search and Advance Your Career, recommends showing up early as a seamless way to connect with others.
That way, you’ll meet the few early stragglers who will be eager to come up to you and network. By the time the party really gets started, you’ll be the center of the conversation!
Act like you want to talk
Often, our default reaction when we have no one to talk to at an event is to bury our noses deep in our iPhones and pretend we’re busy. The Wall Street Journal says that’s completely wrong because it makes you appear uninviting and unapproachable.
Instead, you should simply act like you want to talk to people. Have inviting body language, and smile instead of squinting at your Twitter. Even if no one talks to you, they’ll be happy to strike up a conversation when you approach with the right body language.
It’s a two-way street
A common mistake that most people make is approaching networking as a key driver of sales. Sure, the ultimate goal of networking is to connect with people who may be able to help you reach a particular goal. Networking, however, always starts with giving.
Focus on providing, and this will ensure that you establish real connections. If you want to build strong bonds, you’ll need to invest in relationships–so give without expecting much back in return at first.
Find out their “treasures”
Dale Carnegie, author of the networking staple How to Win Friends and Influence People, wisely said that the easy way to anyone’s heart is to talk to the about what they “treasure most.”
Is there a subject that makes your eyes light up, and that you could talk about for hours? Find that with someone else, and you’ll go far together.
An easy way to start is to ask, “What made you get into your field?” instead of the standard “What do you do?” question. Beyond that, you should always try to aim to speak and ask about people’s passions – it will make for a much better conversation and connection.
Don’t forget the “thank you”
Harvard Law School says the end of a business meeting with someone is just the beginning if you want to forge a long-lasting relationship (makes sense).
Their brilliant solution to stay in touch (while generating kindness) is to follow up with a handwritten “thank you” note. Beyond that, they also recommend keeping the connection updated on anything they helped you with–like a job search–while thanking them again.
It’s simple: Follow the golden rule by treating a connection the way you’d want to be treated. It’s not only a good practice, but it will help you forge long-lasting relationships.
Are there any networking tricks you love to use? We’d love to hear about them!