Is your professional network working hard to help your career? Do you feel comfortable in a large networking event? Or do you think you could be doing more to leverage your professional connections to grow your career and expand your connections?
Most professionals acknowledge that networking is a critical element in their long-term career success, but many also notice they have difficulty making and maintaining quality connections. If you haven’t figured out that perfect formula for a great networking opportunity, here are a few tips from All-Star Personnel to help you figure out what the secret really is.
The Conversation is Rarely About You
You might be surprised by this, but rarely should you try to talk about yourself in a networking situation. Rather, you should be asking questions of the person you are most interested in connecting with. People love to talk about themselves, their work, and the things they are passionate about. Give them the opportunity to tell you their story and they will jump at the opportunity to connect with you.
In fact, in order to make a really positive first impression you need to engage your target and get them interested in the conversation. Don’t be afraid to branch out. Ask smart questions and dig deep to understand what they do and why. They’ll be more than happy to tell you.
Think About Their Needs First
Ask yourself how you might be able to help the person (or people) you want to talk to. Do you have some special skill or insight they would benefit from learning about in order to further their career objectives? Would they benefit from being connected to another professional you know and can introduce them too? Offer up these helpful networking boosters and you will be making an easy connection yourself.
Once you have shown your value to them, they will remember you as someone who not only thinks about the needs of others, but also as someone who is effective and can get the job done. If they are looking to hire someone with your particular skill set in the future, your name will surely be top of mind. When you need help making a good professional connection or could use a hand learning a new skill, they will be more likely to offer their support when you go to them.
Networking is all about maintaining relationships through a positive give and take. Collaboration is a particularly powerful tool when tackling the world of professional networking. Your professional network is your most powerful resource. Having a team of useful and supportive connections on your side can make all the difference in finding a new client, staying current in your industry or landing that new job you’re dreaming about.
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