Networking 101: How to Succeed Socially (Part 2)
Here is part 2 of important tips on building your network and setting yourself apart from the competition. These networking tips can take you from blending into social situations to standing out.
1. Research- I mentioned this briefly in part 1. Research who you think will be at the event and all of the VIPs. Even outside of events, it’s important to know the big names in your field and city so that when you come across these people you’re not taken off guard. Look up their pictures and see what they look like so you’ll know who to talk to if and when you’re ever in the same room. Collect some background information. What are they about? Where did they go to school? What are their passions and interests? Find common ground with them and let the conversation flow from there. Find out what it is that they need that you have. Even better, talk about something non-business related. You want to stand out and people in high postitions get bombarded with ideas and people trying to sell themselves. Pay moreattention to the person and less on your ulterior motives.
2. Be yourself. There’s one thing that is a huge turn-off and that is when someone is trying to get to know me and they aren't being themselves. There’s a saying that goes “Fake it ‘til you make it” that I agree with- to a certain extent. You want to be a CEO? Dress and act like one, have leadership qualities and the ability to create new opportunities. But don’t put on airs. Most people can smell a phony from a mile away. Be genuine. If you’ve never had beluga caviar, who cares? Some of the wealthiest, most powerful people were raised on hot dog and tap water diets anyway (not literally). And don’t try too hard to make a joke or be the life of the party. Being “extra” turns people off more than it attracts them to you. If you are yourself and natural, I’d be willing to bet the people you are talking to will appreciate that more. Don’t throw on an accent, don’t make up stories, don’t be pretentious, and stop with the corny one-liners, just be you.
3. Be confident and know that you are an asset. Knowing what you have to offer is like unlocking the secret to confidence. If you’re nervous, think about all of the things that you’re great at. Tooting your own horn is sometimes the push you need to walk into that room and own it. You are a great asset, remember that.
4. Take notes. After meeting someone, utilize the free apps that you have in your phone and make quick notes about each person. Or as one Google+ member shared, “I write a short description of each person I meet on the back of their business cards.” That way, you’ll keep track of who’s important, what you talked about, and leads to follow-up on.
It's time to get out there and add to that digital rolodex. There's no excuse. Even if you're shy, these tips from part 1 & 2 are great starting points. Get connected, stay connected, and build your network.