Let's Talk Business: Networking Tips You Need to Know
Sticking on a nametag and making small talk about the weather can be, well let’s face it, a little cringe-worthy. But, here’s the thing, it does not have to be like this!
I’m Taylor Mazdra, Marketing & Communications Specialist for the Cape Chamber. Let’s talk business.
Networking in business is one of the best resources for career development. If you hope to grow your career and increase your chances of professional success, you need to not only understand the importance of networking, but also how to do it well. Let’s break it down.
A successful networking experience starts before the event begins. When preparing to attend a networking event, make sure you pack plenty of business cards. It’s better to have too many than not enough.
When you’re at the event, don’t be afraid of a little small talk to break the ice. Rather than engaging in commentary about the weather, consider asking something like, “Have you been to this event before?” It’s easy for the other person to answer, and it starts you off on some common ground.
From there, instead of focusing on what you want to get out of the interaction, focus on leaving everyone you speak to with a positive impression of you. Networking is about building a relationship—which means it isn’t just an opportunity for you to talk all about yourself.
Get creative with your questions. Try asking things such as “what’s the most interesting thing you’ve been working on lately?”
After the event, be sure to follow up with a personalized message. Hop on to LinkedIn or write up an email thanking the individual and following up on one of the topics you discussed.
What all this comes down to is people acting like people with other people.