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How to survive a networking event

Business Technology | September 28, 2011

Though Social Media has made much of professional networking a remote act, the primary way that businesspeople connect on a personal level is through face to face networking. Knowing how to network effectively is important, no matter what level of business you operate at. Here are some key tips to help you find success in any networking situation. Don’t forget, networking doesn’t always mean going to a networking event. These skills can be useful during a conversation at the water cooler, at the grocery store, or any social instance.

You’re There to Give, Not Get

    It’s easy to confuse a detailed monologue with meaningful conversation. When successfully networking, try changing your way of thinking. You should do your best to contribute to the conversation in a constructive way. Give more speaking time to your conversation partner and allow them to be heard. This will help you develop a quick bond that will make the conversation partner feel valued, which will increase the effectiveness of your networking attempts.

Don’t Appear Desperate

    Whether you’re on a date or at a networking event, neediness is never a desired trait. Remember, your main goal is to contribute a sense of appreciation to the person with whom you are having a conversation. If you are constantly asking for a referral from a business representative, much like constantly asking for the number of someone you’ve just met, you’re likely to not get it. Be confident in who you are, and approach the situation knowing what you have to offer.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

    Try and stay away from “yes” or “no” questions. Leave room for elaboration and let whomever you are speaking with feel the freedom to say all they need or want to in order to adequately express themselves. Many questions can be phrased differently to avoid making the answer one worded. For example, asking, “do you have any kids?” could be rephrased as “tell me about your family.” The second wording asks for the same information, but allows the responder the liberty to tell you as little or as much as they want.

    Networking is all about staying comfortable and maintaining honest conversations. For more tips, check out this article.


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