Business Tips: How to Network…the right way
“It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.” While this is valid business advice, it’s not always about exchanging business cards; it’s also about presenting yourself with confidence, knowledge and finesse. Networking can be uncomfortable but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few tips to guide you through your next networking happy hour or to prepare for an interview.
The first and most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. Everyone is either in your shoes or was once in your position. Take comfort knowing you’re not pioneering through unchartered territory. Relax, take a deep breath, and remember—you already know the most vital information, which is about yourself!
Next, start off small. Go to an event that only has a few attendees (less than 30) to prevent becoming overwhelmed. Try to attend the event by yourself. While tagging along with coworkers may seem more comfortable, push yourself outside of your boundaries and interact with multiple people.
Before attending any networking event, always be prepared. Draft out a plan about what you want to talk about, how you may be able to help other people, and what your true talents and strengths are. Consider your audience. Are they potential business partners, future bosses or peers with valuable business knowledge? Again, relax, and take a deep breath.
Lastly, disregard your personal agenda and never dismiss someone as unimportant. You never know who you may be talking to, and, title doesn’t always carry more significance. That person may be able to introduce you to someone who can significantly benefit your career. By ditching your personal agenda you’ll appear more attractive and open-minded. Generosity and thoughtfulness goes a long way and people will remember such qualities.
To recap: you’re not alone, start off small, be prepared and remain open minded. Also, always follow up! Keep up with your connections. Once you’ve attended a few events, especially within a specific industry, you’ll start recognizing more people and you’ll be able to expand upon your network each time. Before you know it, you’ll be a networking pro. For more information about business travel tips, visit our Q&A Residential Hotel blog.