7 Tips to Better Networking

Published: Mar 22, 2012

7 Tips to Better Networkingt Dump the negative attitude, be friendly, and you might be surprised at what comes back to you.
By Sandy Jones-Kaminski, Author of I'm at a Networking Event--Now What???

Heading into spring, it seems as if there is a networking event every night of the week. And once we reach the fourth quarter of the year, things really kick into gear with all the holiday events and social engagements that show up on our calendars. To get you ready for all the opportunities to connect that are headed your way, here are seven of my favorite networking tips:

1. Don't take networking too seriously. It can and should be fun. Connect with the intention of helping others rather than simply expecting to find the elusive perfect job or new client. Relax, take the pressure off yourself and focus on what you can bring to the party or offer in the form of contacts, knowledge or resources.

2. Improve your outlook, and your fortunes will change. If you have a negative outlook on networking, you're probably sabotaging your chances at connecting with the right people. Put all the negative or disappointing encounters behind you and focus on what's possible. As Vince Lombardi said, "It's not whether you get knocked down; it's whether you get back up."

3. Take a proactive approach. Get off the couch or out from behind your screen and get out there. Remember, "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity," as Roman philosopher Seneca put it. You eventually have to meet people to know if you'll really connect with them, and the more people you meet, the more likely you are to find the "right" people for you. (It's almost like dating, isn't it?)

4. Keep the alcohol consumption to a minimum if you're at an event where it's being served. Being relaxed is good, but having your buzz on, and then acting inappropriately, is not a good way to be memorable. Need I say more?

5. Be the person to include others in the conversation when they join the circle. What a great way to create a good impression and set an example for others. As Dale Carnegie said, "You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you."

6. Be polite and considerate. Good manners never go out of style. Leave your ego in the restroom after you've checked your appearance (make sure there are no traces of your lunch in your teeth), and leave the office politics at the office. A networking event is a time to be noncompetitive and social in a professional yet friendly way.

7. Be sincere and open, and follow through on the commitments you make. Authenticity leaves a lasting impression. Even if you don't find a way to assist one another immediately, you never know when someone might remember you and introduce you to a key contact down the road. And if you promise to make an introduction or e-mail a link to a relevant resource, be sure to follow up after the event. Followup is a key factor in making a good impression and creating lasting relationships that lead to new opportunities.

Follow these tips to increase your effectiveness at connecting with others. Then enjoy the upcoming season.

About the Author

Sandy Jones-Kaminski is the author of "I'm at a Networking Event--Now What???" which was ranked #1 on the 2010 Inc.com Holiday Gift Guide Wish List and has been a VP of Networking for a major national professional development association. Since 1998, she's been a executive in the human capital resources and services industry and currently shares her hard-earned insights on effective networking and personal branding via webinars, panels, keynotes, one-on-one consulting, her blog and workshops. Sandy has written numerous articles for WomenEntrepreneur and The Salary Reporter on www.PayScale.com and has been featured on Fox Business News, NWJobs, Work Goes Strong, Bankrate.com, You're Hired! and My Global Career. Learn more via her website at www.belladomain.com.

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