These networking tricks and tips can help open new doors in your career!
Networking can get a bad reputation. However, in reality most networking events are filled with people who want to make genuine professional connections. Networking is a great way to find mentors and mentees, discover new businesses in your area, stay up-to-date on industry trends, and learn about potential career paths.
Networking can have many benefits! According to a recent LinkedIn survey:
- 80% of professionals consider networking to be important to career success
- 70 % were hired at a company where they had a connection
If you’ve ever felt out of place at a networking event, check out these networking tricks and tips to help you build those essential professional connections.
1. Start within your office.
If you’re new to networking, you don’t have to jump into the deep end. Don’t start by signing up for a big out-of-state conference where you won’t know anybody. Instead, look within your office!
Many of your current colleagues can be great professional connections. Years down the road, you might refer each other for new positions or collaborate on new business ventures.
Start by scheduling lunches with different people. It’ll give you a chance to talk about your interests and career goals.
Once you’ve gotten enough practice networking with your colleagues—try signing up for an event!
2. Position yourself strategically.
The number one rule of networking events—don’t be a wallflower. Hanging around the outskirts of the crowd will limit your conversation partners.
Vanessa Van Edwards from Science of People recommends standing close to where people exit the bar area. She explains this is a more effective approach than bombarding newcomers as they enter the event or lingering by the buffet tables. Another helpful tip she provides is to try starting conversations while waiting in line.
3. Remember people’s names.
How many times have you been introduced to someone only to immediately forget their name? Don’t worry. We’ve all been there.
Come up with a pneumonic device to help you remember people’s names. For example, if you meet someone called Bill who has brown hair and blue eyes, try memorizing the phrase “Blue Brown Bill.”
You can also associate the person with a celebrity or family member who shares the same name. Does the person look anything like Bill Gates?
Finally, a good way to remember people’s names is simply to repeat it in the conversation. “It’s nice to meet you, Bill.”
4. Leave the sales pitch at home.
For many, a sale is the final goal of networking. However, starting with a sales pitch can seem insincere or smarmy. Leave the elevator pitch for later and instead focus on creating real human-to-human connections.
What if someone asks about your company or services? Be prepared with a short explanation that will allow you to introduce your product without monopolizing the conversation. People will leave with a better impression of you, leading to stronger, longer-lasting business relationships.
5. Ask questions.
The best way to ensure flowing conversation is to ask people questions. Ask them about their jobs, hobbies, and goals. Ask them where they’ve worked in the past, what cities they’ve preferred, and what they find most challenging about their roles.
When people get to share their stories and passions, they’ll walk away feeling like it was a much more engaging conversation.
Before heading to a networking event, think of several questions you could ask
Smiling is the oldest—and most effective—trick in the books!