Second Step of Networking: Refine Your Approach
This is your mental and physical state during your networking opportunity, as follows:
Be of service and help to others. This is a new way of thinking for a lot of people – but networking isn’t about you! You are much more approachable and attractive if you go in seeking to help and support others. To do that, develop active listening skills, which include asking leading, open-ended questions and responding to what they say. The information you gain will be valuable to you as you continue the relationship with them after the networking event.
Use business cards for contact information only. Networking is about forming relationships with humans, not cards. Hand out and ask for cards for the people you actually plan to follow up with for clear reasons that support your goals.
Be authentic. Many people feel networking isn’t their thing because they are shy, or introverted. I say – networking is for everyone. It’s about bringing your own style and personality into the room, and leverage your strengths as a person to build relationships for your benefit and others’. Know yourself, and work the room in your own way. Introverts can be great at one-on-one conversations, so take each networking opportunity to develop greater common ground with your connection, beyond looking for a job.
With all the above in place, go in with confidence and calm.