You arrive at a bustling evening event, look around and sidle up to the drinks table.
You now have a glass of wine and you’re ready to take on the world! But wait - everyone seems to know someone. People are already chatting in groups.
As you sip on your Merlot, you know what you need to do. You’re well aware that networking is powerful for opportunities, advice, knowledge-sharing and to boost your brand.
It’s not just a cliché. The adage of “who you know” is alive and well, as networking is still the number one way to find a job. It’s almost twice as effective as applying through jobs sites.
You want to join in an interesting and fulfilling conversation. But how do you do it?
Here’s five amazing networking tips to steal from top superconnectors.
1. Put away the phone
Arianna Huffington, CEO and co-founder of Thrive Global, talks about how easy it is for devices to get in the way when networking. “Even when our gadgets are not in front of us, they can condition our minds to be constantly looking elsewhere.”
Tempted to reach for that device out of comfort? Save some battery life and power it down. Instead, say hi to someone who’s thumbing away on their smart phone.
The odds are they’re not doing anything urgent. They may have felt a bit awkward too and could be glad someone else made the first move.
2. Do your research
Mark Kelly from What I know Now dedicated a recent podcast to networking challenges, called Why you suck at networking.
Mark’s advice is to do your research. He says sometimes people go to networking events with no idea what to expect. Maybe they went to the event because they had to, but had no real interest.
Find out who’s speaking, what topics excite you and have some open questions ready to ask. Don’t go to events to tick the networking box.
3. Smile...and use those ears
Never underestimate the power of the pearly whites. 93% of communication is not what you say, but how you say it. Your words only count for 7% of conversation so verbiage is not as important.
Facial expressions count for 55% in a conversation, so smiling will send out those positive vibes to the group you’re in.
Active listening is key to learning more about who you’re chatting with. Arianna Huffington believes you can have an interesting conversation with anyone, if you find out what their interests are.
4. Have real conversations
Be yourself and embrace the idea of “networking without networking”. Rich Stromback, venture capitalist, entrepreneur and networker says nobody wants to have a “networking” conversation.
“They’re hungry for real conversations and real relationships. It just has to be authentic, genuine and sincere. I don’t look at people’s badges to decide if they are worth my time.”
Enjoy learning about the person you’re talking with and inject your own uniqueness into the conversation by being yourself and sharing your stories.
5. Stay in touch
When you speak to some influencers who you feel you can learn more from - whether those are speakers, new contacts or potential clients - make sure to follow up.
If you didn’t share contact details at the event, consider following the person on Twitter and retweet posts that you like. Good karma means they may do the same for you! LinkedIn is another great way to expand your network through the people you’ve met.
Don’t leave it too long after the event to get in touch. It’s best to follow up within a day or two, so that people remember you. A personal message always leaves a lasting impression too.
Join KonnectAgain at our next event in Amsterdam
KonnectAgain hosts and speaks at events around the world. Our next stop is HR Tech World in Amsterdam on 24 & 25 October, 2017. Check us out at Stand 725 in the Startup Exhibition area. Come along to see our CTO Helen Flynn give her take on “What Gymnastics Taught Me About Being a Female Chief Technology Officer" at the Start Up Stage on 25 Oct@10:45 am.
How KonnectAgain can help
KonnectAgain is an online platform that helps businesses tap into rich networks of their past and future talent. We help organisations understand why employees are leaving, stay connected with them and re-hire high performing alumni. This results in reduced recruitment costs, boosted productivity and a rich talent pool for referrals and boomerangs.