Welcome back to our second installment of tips for improving your networking skills. Last time we discussed the importance of taking the time to really establish a meaningful connection with someone and of exchanging stories with the person you’re speaking to. Both of these things help make you more memorable and create a basis for further conversation. Read on for more tips on how to effectively chat people up at those networking events that we all love, oh, so much!
Create a Transition for Your Next Conversation
Once you’ve won over a contact at a networking event, the next battle becomes following up with them in a meaningful and relevant way. Perhaps you feel comfortable approaching new people for the first time, but freeze up when it comes to following up with someone. A good way to make this easier is to establish some basis for follow-up. It can be as simple as telling them that you will get back to them with some piece of information, or paying close attention to a question they had and following up once you have an answer for them. Or it may be as bold as scheduling a lunch meeting and actually following through with it. Whatever it is that you decide to do, try your best to keep the conversation open when you say goodbye.
Become a Resource
It’s easy to list the ways in which others might be able to help us, and to attend networking events for the sole purpose of meeting such people. But also try to consider how you could help others and make yourself available. People seem most eager to follow up with someone when that other person is the gatekeeper to their next dream job or perfect connection. Yet if you leave an event and find that there is some way in which you can aid someone you just met, try to be just as enthusiastic about getting in contact with that person. If you do this, you will build a much richer network of contacts around yourself – ones that will be more likely to go out on a limb for you.
Embrace Social Media
As a follow-up to the in-person meeting, add your new contacts to your online social network. The advantage of professional networking sites is that they grant your contacts access to all your information, including your resume if you choose to display it. No matter how riveting of a conversation you had with another person, they’re not always going to remember all the details, so it’s helpful to provide that information afterward as well, and in a format that they can revisit.
Networking isn’t easy, but with these tips we hope it will be easier. Just remember that in addition to everything, it’s important to be professional, friendly, and attentive – and hopefully this will render you unforgettable!