Networking can be very intimidating especially for employees that have just recently entered the workforce. Nethertheless networking is being recognised as a primary factor of success in the professional world regardless of the course of your career. One small networking success can make a huge difference in your career and your life. That’s why it is important to be prepared. Here are a few tips for you to give a kick start to your professional network:
1- Don’t be shy! We know that you might not feel comfortable in a room filled with people in suits but don’t worry they’ve all been there before. If you made it to the event you’ve made the biggest step, no point in backing down now. Just gather up your courage, take a deep breath and off you go speak to that group. Remember 10 seconds of being uncomfortable might result in support throughout your career!
2- Be yourself. If you try too hard, others will notice and will be reluctant to engage in or to maintain long lasting connections. Be honest and true to yourself they will only appreciate you more for that.
3- Ask. Most people are not mindreaders and they won’t guess what you want even if you think about it at the top of your thoughts. Remember to be clear so that if it is in their power, they can help you more effectively.
4- Listen. Networking isn’t only about what others can do for you. It’s more about the exchange of small services. If you help them out, they will be more inclined to help you out in return. And don’t forget that they might one day be your customer, you don’t want to make them feel as if they are not important.
5- Ideas. Networking is also about sharing, exchanging and confronting ideas. You might find yourself changed after such an exchange and it can also influence your career.
6- Links. Don’t be disappointed if the person you are talking to is not the person you were looking for or cannot help you. Maybe they know somebody else in the room who could or they might keep your name and will get back to you in the future.
7- Keep in touch. Networking is all about developing reliable connections that will last for years. Keeping in touch will not only remind the other person of who you are but will strengthen the bonds over time. That is why it is always good to exchange business cards before parting. If you want to be a little more modern, you can also add them to your LinkedIn account or any other professional website that you might have in common (avoid facebook which might have too many embarrassing photos).
8- Most important: Have fun! Enjoy the company of others, make friends and make international contacts. That’s the best and easiest way to start your network.
Article by Jade Tainturier: Jade is passionate about business, marketing and creating harmonious business relationships.