Find Your Footing in the World of Networking
The VAIO Society is full of ambitious entrepreneurs, as such the act of networking isn’t far from their minds. Successful networking is something of a challenge, as it requires talking to complete strangers and could eventually lead to asking for favors. If you’re looking to expand your professional network and subsequently make a name for yourself as an entrepreneur or an upstanding c-suite, utilize the following tips from assorted pros and continue to put yourself in the right place at the right time.
Let Go of Fears and Doubts
It might sound trite, but overcoming any fears, anxieties, and doubts you have about networking is the first step in mastering this art. Networking isn’t about self-promotion; it’s about developing and maintaining relationships with colleagues that benefit both parties. There’s no need to acquire a new personality, or worse, come off as a pushy salesperson. Be authentic and understand that rejection is part of the networking game, as it is with most things.
Beginning your networking journey at an event, such as one that offers speed networking, it’s a helpful way to ease yourself into the process. This activity is a chance to build confidence, as everyone you’re talking to is there for the same reason. Go a step further by arranging meetings with individuals attending the event prior to the start time and remember to change your mindset if necessary. Telling yourself you despise these events, and that talking to strangers is agonizing, isn’t going to help you at all. In fact, it will make you less confident and subtly tell other people that you don’t want to be there.
Make It Easy…And Fun
It IS possible to make successful networking an easier process, and even a fun one. Keep in mind that most, if not all, of the people at a networking event are also nervous; you might see them playing with their phones in order to “look busy” or standing away from the group. Help these people out by introducing yourself. They’ll be grateful for that. Start conversations, but remember, not every single human you meet at a networking event is going to help you…and that’s just fine.
Have fun with networking by immediately looking for common interests with everyone you talk to. It doesn’t have to be complicated; in fact, making a connection is as simple as talking about a mutual friend, a favorite outdoor activity, or a shared love of vintage wines. Finding common interests provides insight concerning others’ likes and personalities, and fosters a sense of familiarity that will prove helpful going forward.
Give Honest Compliments and Ask for Advice
It’s important to be honest and genuine with your compliments, and learn how to take a compliment yourself, if you don’t already know how. No one likes a fake person, and serving people with outlandish compliments you clearly don’t mean is a good way to ostracize yourself.
Asking for advice is another genuine way to move the conversation along. This is a strategy that can help you avoid awkward interactions and might even endear you to the person with whom you’re speaking.
Lastly, implementing a solid follow-up system is an essential ingredient of successful networking. Make the email as memorable as possible by discussing what you talked about, focusing on what the person does or the advice he/she provided, sharing useful information, and offering future help. Regardless of your end destination networking is key to building a reputable name for yourself. While a large portion of that process exists in a social space, the second half of networking relies on the machine at the end of your finger tips. Join the VAIO Society and equip yourself with machines that will help you drive your own success.