Tips for suc­cess­ful net­work­ing

Lesotho Times - - Jobs & Tenders -

NET­WORK­ING; many peo­ple see it as a nec­es­sary evil in the busi­ness world, but for some it can be dif­fi­cult to mas­ter.

Net­work­ing con­nects peo­ple, sparks new ideas, forges new part­ner­ships, and makes an event worth at­tend­ing. Sounds great. How­ever, the prob­lem with net­work­ing is that it can be, well, awk­ward.

If you’ve ever turned up to a gath­er­ing as a ‘new­bie’ or first­timer, you’ll know the feel­ing of hov­er­ing by the door­way, not know­ing who to ap­proach or where to be­gin.

At Eventbrite, we re­cently delved into the psy­chol­ogy of net­work­ing and iden­ti­fied a cou­ple of sci­en­tific in­sights that can help you make the most of net­work­ing sit­u­a­tions.

For ex­am­ple: Of­fer­ing some­thing use­ful, such as ad­vice, fits with what is known as ‘ So­cial Ex­change The­ory.’ This the­ory sug­gests we con­nect with peo­ple based on what they can of­fer us while weigh­ing up pos­si­ble dis­ad­van­tages.

At net­work­ing events, a good course of ac­tion is to not mind stand­ing out from the crowd, and to march over to be­gin mak­ing friends and in­flu­enc­ing peo­ple.

Some peo­ple won­der ‘ how do I start a con­ver­sa­tion?’ and think that they need to be en­ter­tain­ing to en­gage some­one. In re­al­ity you just need to find a com­mon in­ter­est.

The art of start­ing an en­gag­ing con­ver­sa­tion is about ask­ing ques­tions, lis­ten­ing to what the other per­son is say­ing, and then of­fer­ing per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence or ad­vice that is of value to the per­son you are talk­ing to.

While net­work­ing isn’t some­thing that can be taught, here are eight sim­ple tips rooted in be­havioural sci­ence that can help you be more suc­cess­ful at it:

1. Ice­break­ers: The eas­i­est way to start net­work­ing at an event is to not over-think it. Just ask the per­son next to you a sim­ple ques­tion: how are you find­ing the event? No one wants to be the first to break the ice. If you take the ini­tia­tive, peo­ple will al­most al­ways re­spond warmly and pos­i­tively.

2. Min­gling: Suc­cess­ful min­gling be­gins with a sin­gle con­nec­tion. Start a con­ver­sa­tion with one per­son, go for tea, and then in­tro­duce your­self and them to an­other per­son. Re­peat.

3. Give: Mak­ing con­nec­tions at an event is about giv­ing first and re­ceiv­ing sec­ond: ask ques­tions, lis­ten to what’s go­ing on with the per­son, of­fer per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence or ad­vice.

4. Lis­ten: You don’t need to have a speech pre­pared; net­work­ing is 80% ask­ing, lis­ten­ing and em­pathis­ing.

5. Mir­ror: Match­ing and mir­ror­ing the body lan­guage, tone of voice or words can make peo­ple feel more com­fort­able.

6. Smile: Smile and be pos­i­tive; peo­ple are at­tracted to that.

7. Breathe: Be present and be mind­ful: take a deep breath and re­lax into the mo­ment.

8. Be­lieve: Net­work­ing with suc­cess­ful pro­fes­sion­als can seem in­tim­i­dat­ing. Stop neg­a­tive thoughts by men­tally list­ing skills and ac­com­plish­ments. — Con­fer­ence-news

Net­work­ing con­nects peo­ple, sparks new ideas, forges new part­ner­ships, and makes an event worth at­tend­ing.

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