We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again– Professional Networking is essential for your career. From the grocery store to a professional networking event, you should always be prepared. With the right guide, you can strengthen your networking skills and improve on your weaknesses. Follow these tips to make a greater impression while networking:
1. Be Prepared
Preparation is key when attending a networking event. Research the companies or specific people you want to speak with and prepare questions ahead of time. This is a great way to ensure a smooth conversation and excellent use of time.
2. Elevator Pitch
Have a pitch prepared and rehearsed! An elevator pitch is a 30-second speech that can be used to summarize your personal bio, job history, goals, etc. Preparing– and rehearsing, an elevator pitch is a great way to be ready for every situation and networking opportunity.
3. Business Cards
Always be prepared with business cards! Having all your information ready and available is the best way to stay in-touch. Especially if you happen to meet someone outside of a professional networking event, business cards are easy and effective.
Follow resume writing best practices and carry hard copies to professional networking events. Be prepared with an electronic version of the resume to share via email.
Listening is a powerful tool in networking. After all, networking is about connecting with others– it’s not all about you! Pay attention to what others have to say and the details they mention so you can respond accordingly. Developing good listening skills will help in networking and throughout your career.
6. Be confident
If you don’t believe in yourself, you can’t expect others to believe in you. Carry yourself with confidence by emphasizing your strengths while working on your weaknesses. This confidence will translate into a great first impression and help you earn trust and respect throughout your career.
7. Follow Up
Follow up a great conversation with a phone call, e-mail, or LinkedIn. The key here: less is more. Don’t call until they answer, just reach out to show you enjoyed the conversation and would like to continue the relationship. After that, the ball is on their court.
8. Dress for success
Make your first impression count by dressing professionally! Don’t let your clothing or grooming be the reason why you didn’t get a call back.
9. The Firm Handshake
In every situation, a firm handshake demonstrates confidence and professionalism. A firm handshake makes a great first impression!
10. Do not be afraid to network
Take advantage of every networking opportunity! Professional Networking is extremely powerful and beneficial for your career. Don’t let fear stand in your way! Practice, learn from your mistakes, and take advantage of every networking opportunity!