Face to face networking is an essential part of any business, and even in this highly connected age of social media it’s value cannot be underestimated. The more extroverted you are, the easier networking will be. But if you’re used to eating sad desk salads during your lunch break instead of getting out and socializing, you might be a little introverted! These easy steps will help you break out of your networking comfort once and for all. Speaking from experience, if there’s one thing that most shy people are good at its mentally preparing for a potential conversation!
Here are the three C’s that change the networking narrative.
- Communication - Both verbal and non verbal communication is equally important so make sure you aren't hiding in a corner with crouched shoulders looking into your phone! It is important to look people in the eye and initiate the conversation with non personal questions. The whole point of attending networking events is to meet new people and learn from them, so don’t be afraid to ask questions! The key to pulling this off is doing your research about the event beforehand.
- Collaboration - Networking is very collaborative. It is very important to understand that the purpose of networking is to collaborate and it helps receive clarity about our competencies. Concentrate on building a network that adds value to your organization and make the most of your time while you’re at it. No two people are the same and when you meet with different people from different backgrounds you should identify how to complement each other.
- Connections - The goal is to build strong connections and follow up with them. Last impressions are just as good as the first so take the time to send a LinkedIn request or write a short email telling each person you met how great it was to connect with them. It is important to do this within a few days after meeting them so you’re still fresh in their memory. This may encourage them to offer further assistance. Try and share information or offer some assistance that you think that would be beneficial to them so the relationship is a two way process.