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Tips For Developing Great Networking Skills

Anything in life takes effort to be successful. Make sure you’re putting in time, engaging with your customers or connections, and asking them the right questions

Engage in conversations with people, as a new business you want to be heard and seen. Introduce yourself on an about me page.

Staying consistent is very important. Checking in with past, current, and future customers shows that you’re interested and that you care.

Networking is one of those things in life that people either love it or they hate it. Networking isn’t like having a normal conversation with someone, it has deeper, read-between-the-lines meanings, judgement and side-eyes, and worst of all, those small jabs and jokes that seem harmless but make you reconsider every decision you’ve made in your life leading up to that moment. You get to the hotel or conference room or wherever, and before you even walk through the door, you’re already planning your Irish goodbye. In hopes that your boss or whomever sent you, won’t notice or hear about it the next day.

Lucky for you we’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks to help you get through those bland-tasting ourdesverous, the uncomfortable clothes and shoes, and the constant worry that you might have a piece of lunch somehow stuck in your teeth.

Tip #1: Put in the time

Anything that’s worth it in life takes effort. The same goes for networking. In order to be “good at it” you need to put in the time. This means engaging with your customers and connections, and asking the right questions.

Of course it can be nerve-racking to decipher what’s appropriate for different settings, situations and people, but there’s a few things we like to do in order to ease our nerves and come out on top.

  • Practice deep breathing exercises. Yeah they sound silly, ya they look silly, but they actually work when it comes to re-setting your nervous system and relaxing you so you don’t talk 30000 miles a minute or fumble your words.

  • Hype yourself up beforehand. This can be done with the help of Beyonce, a new outfit, a good workout or calling a friend (or last week’s Tinder match) that you know is all about the compliments.

  • Stick to the general guidelines of not meshing a work relationship and a romantic relationship. This can be especially tricky if your newest client has a son who has a friend who knows a guy that is possibly the man of your dreams. Keeping your work relationships separate from your romantic ones can be a huge help when it comes to the longevity of your personal relationships, your sanity at work and your reputation. You don’t want to be “that girl” or “that guy” that is notorious for dating all the new employees or clients.

Tip #2: Engage, a lot

Engaging is a very important part of networking, which oftentimes gets overlooked. Most people will group together talking and engaging, but they are, in-fact, two different things.

Talking is simply responding to a question or comment from another person or people. It’s the action of conversing with other person(s). Where as engaging, is the process of understanding and being actively interested in what the topic of conversation is.

When you’re networking with other people, and your goal is to make a positive first impression and build relationships, engaging in the conversations will be your best option for achieving your goals.

Some ways you can engage with new people and new conversations are:

  • Research who will be at the networking event beforehand and get a sense of what they’re representing and what they might be interested in.

  • Have a nap or a good night’s sleep before the event! If you’re tired you’ll notice yourself becoming more focused on how comfortable your bed is, as opposed to the climate change issues or the future of local businesses in your city.

  • Avoid too much alcohol. Oftentimes events will offer some sort of alcohol or bar. A few drinks is fine, but it’s important to know your limit (be honest with yourself). This way you avoid making any sort of mistakes, embarrassing yourself or your business.

Tip #3: Consistency

Consistency seems to be the key to everything, especially when it comes to business. You need to be consistent to achieve goals and remain competitive in your industry.

Showing that you’re consistent as a business professional is also important as it shows to others that you’re reliable, hard-working and that they can depend on you. This is crucial if you’re wanting to build relationships with other professionals or businesses.

Some tips to practice consistency for yourself and your business are:

  • Have a set of standards and/or guidelines and stick to them! This applies to not only your work as an individual, but also as a business.

  • Be yourself. It’s easiest to be yourself when you meet new people and don’t have to put on any act. This way, when people are recommending you to others, they can be confident in you as a person and your personality.

Tip #4: Talk to yourself

Lastly, talking to yourself is not weird! Someone somewhere once said that the most intelligent people talk to themselves. That being said, when it comes to networking events, practicing your social ques, facial expressions and body language in the mirror is a great way to get comfortable talking, and hearing your own voice.

This tip is especially useful now that we’re starting to have more in-person events. However, it can also be applied to virtual events.

Some of our best tips for getting comfortable talking to yourself are:

  • Don’t shy away from the mirror! If you are uncomfortable, try building up your confidence by not standing there for hours, but maybe saying a sentence or two, or practicing your smile or nods or even laughing.

  • Ask someone if they can help you get used to talking with other people (face-to-face) again!

  • Therapy… our best tool in our toolkits! Therapists are great for helping you build your confidence, practicing your social skills and understanding any underlying reasons you might be weary of talking to others or even talking to yourself!


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