6 networking secrets everyone should learn

By Grace Frenson

Networking can be one of the most intimidating things you can do. But guess what? People in business do it and have been doing it for many decades. It’s a necessary skill and a key marketing tool that you can master with practice. But we’ll help you skip the painful parts and share with you these six secrets to networking that will take you from beginner to expert.

Create your game plan

Instead of just talking to any person you bump into, why not approach the right people? This saves you a lot of time and gets you lots of returns. So before you get to that event, look up the people who will be attending, if possible, and do some research about those you want to approach. Check their LinkedIn profile, find any articles they may have written, or look up their social media. Any information you have on them will be great for keeping that conversation engaging. Plus, it’ll create a good impression when they find out you did your due diligence.

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…only if you make it! Look, we know networking isn’t the easiest thing especially if you’re an introvert. But here’s a thought that’ll give you comfort: everybody thinks it’s awkward too! Networking is not natural but it’s an age-old tradition that most successful people swear by. So embrace the awkwardness and keep on networking anyway!

Arrive early

You know what feeling of overwhelm when you go into a room and see everyone talking to each other, seemingly having a good time. Pretty intimidating, huh? You want to make sure you arrive at the event at least 15 minutes before it begins. Take this time to get familiarized with the venue and build rapport with those who also arrived early. It’ll make you feel comfortable throughout the event and gives you a great excuse to not linger too long.

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Listening is an important part of communication. You’re not really listening when you’re just waiting for the other person to finish talking. Most people like to talk about themselves so you’d better get used to it. No, it doesn’t mean you should let every person you talk to dominate the conversation. It means listening to them with intent and responding appropriately. It’s a rare talent these days.

Collect the right people’s cards

You’ve probably read somewhere that you should collect cards more than you hand them out. This is good advice, however, I want to take it a step further by saying that you shouldn’t just collect any person’s card. Get the right ones. Collect those of people that matter to your success. This relates to tip number 1. You want to cultivate deep personal connections with people who can have an instrumental impact in your career.

After you get their card, write notes on it that you can refer back to later, whether it’s the conversation you just had or the article you promised you’d send them. If they have business card quotes on theirs, take note of those too. It will say a lot about their character.

You can even go as far as taking notes about personal information they shared such as their recent trip or the fact that they have three kids. Again, this all depends on how valuable the person is to you.

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Now that the event is over, it’s time to follow up. You’ll want to prioritize those who are important to you. You can do this via video emails, social media comments, a thoughtful insight on their blog, or a LinkedIn request to connect. Whatever kind of follow-up you promised someone, do it! People will trust you more when they see that you are true to your word.

Do you have other networking tips to share? Write them in the comments below!

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Grace Frenson is a freelance writer from Philadelphia. She recently graduated from Drexel University with a bachelor’s degree in businesses administration. While studying for her degree she interned under a notable financial consultant in King of Prussia, PA. She has a passion for finance and writing.

 

 

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