Networking, on most occasions, has this reputation to be a tool for siphoning services by means of fake interest, awkward and forced conversations at corporate events among people wearing nametags. It is for this reason that professionals across industries have started to despise the very idea of networking. Instead of making your engagement an all-out pitch fest, you need to work your network smartly to make it work for you. Here's how you can do it without making anyone feel remotely uncomfortable.
In addition to opening yourself up to new opportunities, networking also involves adding value to someone else's life. Just like any other relationship, networking is a two-way street where you have to give as much as you receive. For example, if you are introduced to someone, don't start a conversation with them to fulfill some agenda of yours. Instead, approach the conversation with a genuine interest. When you take an interest in the person, you foster creative collaboration.
The best way to make someone remember you is by handing them your business card. This is true even more so if you have a business card that is out of the ordinary. When a professional exits a business event, he usually leaves the premise with a stack of business cards that were handed to him by different people during the event. Therefore, if your business card stands out, he will have an easier time remembering you.
Any and every opportunity to network is daunted by the fear of rejection. However, if you remain in fear of that 'no', you'll never be able to make free-flowing conversation. If someone takes the time from their schedule to tell you that a certain position is filled or that they can't meet you for coffee, don't be put off. At least you're on their radar and they'll get in touch with you when they have something to offer.
A lot of people believe that 'working the room' is an important part of networking. To put it simply, 'working the room' means to engage as many people as you can at a professional event and showering them with your business card. However, establishing a solid, meaningful relationship with one suitable person is always better than pitching your ideas to 10 random people. Therefore, focus on finding that one or a group who might be willing to strike a meaningful conversation.
Networking is worth your effort but it is also important to do it correctly. Use the above mentioned tips to make your networking efforts more fruitful and less forced.
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