You’ve probably heard the phrase, “it’s all about who you know.”
While that does have a lot of truth to it, it’s often easier said than done. Even if you’re the bell of the ball at parties, it can still be hard to find and connect with the people who will propel your career and business forward.
Thankfully, even if you’re an introvert, networking is a skill that can be learned pretty effortlessly. It’s just like riding a bike; it might seem a little intimidating at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’ll become easy as pie.
Here are 5 ways to become a master networker in no time:
When you’re out and about networking, it goes a lot easier when you feel like you’re talking to a friend, or if you forge a connection beyond a mutual business exchange.
That’s why networking expert Achim Nowak, author of Infectious: How to Connect Deeply and Unleash the Energetic Leader Within, recommends revealing something personal about yourself to others. Nope, you don’t have to (and shouldn’t) reveal details about your last date, but you can take steps to let some personal details lose and make the connection flourish.
He recommends sprinkling some personality when you’re asked the standard Q&A. For instance, when asked “where are you from,” don’t be afraid to follow up with “______, and I have to go to a high school reunion there next month; I’m a little nervous.”
Looking for a place to meet remarkable people?
Forbes recommends volunteering or attending fundraisers. You’re not only supporting a good cause, but you’re in a space of “forced” interaction with likeminded people who strongly believe in something you do.
While you obviously shouldn’t solely volunteer to increase your business (or push your business card out while in volunteering), it’s an amazing way to meet new people (and friends!) who could turn out to be that must-have connection.
Arrive early to events
If you’re the type who gets nervous when walking into a huge crowd and trying to talk to people, this tip should be filled in the “so simple it’s brilliant” cabinet.
Wendy Gelberg, the author of The Successful Introvert: How to Enhance Your Job Search and Advance Your Career, says this works so well because “There are just a few random people who have shown up early, and they’re delighted to have someone to talk to. Then you become part of the group.”
Don’t forget the thank you
Since you were little, you were (hopefully) taught to say “thank you.” But when it comes to something as important as networking, a simple “thanks” when you walk out the door isn’t enough.
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 hand-written thank you note. Beyond that, they also recommend keeping the networker 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 longer-lasting connections.
It’s a two-way street
No matter how much you want something from someone, networking shouldn’t be a “me, me, me” type interaction.
The Muse suggests sprinkling offers to help whenever possible, for instance:
“You’re trying to hire an intern to manage your blog? I had great luck posting a listing with NYU’s journalism school. Let me send you a link” or “My friend just got a job at Google—I can see if she’d be open to giving you some interview tips.”
Even the smallest effort to help can make a gigantic difference.
Network with us!
Want to practice your networking and get some more tips along the way? Reach out to The Tribe today!