I have been a shy networker before. I attended the meetings/conferences with many business cards in my pocket but I rarely exchanged business cards and developed any new contact. I had good questions in my mind to ask but hoped that someone else would ask. It wasn’t working out for me.
After reading many books, studying other successful people and learning from some of my friends – I found out where I was failing. I was mainly staying in the group of people I knew. I had objective to gain from the event but not to contribute something in some way. I hoped someone else will show interest in me and will strike conversation and only phrase I used to initiate conversation was, “How are you today?”. I got rid of shyness, gain confidence and equipped with knowledge by knowing that we all have unique styles of interaction and capabilities. Asking question or solution proposed to clarify any issue will not only help me but many others. We all benefit from each other thru interaction. Now, one of my friend says, if I am not working then I am networking. I guess, its good compliment!
It’s not what you know but who you know that makes the difference. – Anonymous
Networking is the must-have capability for any professional these days. We all need good networking skills and should take advantage of connections we develop at any professional symposium or meeting. Networking is absolutely the primary technique that is used to find new job opportunities, career transition or career advancement. While we all attend various meeting, active on LinkedIn (and social media) and attend seminars with networking as one of the objectives; but many times it is not accomplished that well.
Here are 7 points to keep in mind for effective networking at any event –
- Setup your agenda for the event & find what unique perspective you bring.
- Choose your sessions in advance if its multi session event and jot down your questions on the topic.
- Arrive early to meet people; also participate in the sessions by asking questions or sharing your perspective.
- Sit with strangers and introduce yourself – don’t wait for others to make move.
- Initiate conversations – go beyond “Hi, how are you?”. Show interest in others and listen.
- Share expertise and help people solve issues discussed, make note of what you offered to the new contact.
- Follow-up with your new contacts after you get home.
Other Useful Link –