Lately, networking seems more like a requirement than a benefit. Nowadays, it’s all about who you know. When you want to move up in your career, the contacts you’ve built through networking can play a major role. But what if you are comfortable with your networking skills?
The CGS Team is sharing 6 tips to help give your networking skills the boost they need! We’ve already covered the Power of Networking, so check out these tips to help take your networking skills to the next level! We’re confident you’ll be one step closer in becoming a networking-pro!
#1 Practice conversation
Practice makes perfect and perfect leads to confidence. Practicing your approach when introducing yourself to someone for the first time is normal. In fact, many people practice what they would say to someone they’ve never met so they don’t fumble over their words.
Practicing with friends and family can strengthen your communication skills which will help you feel more at ease when networking. You can also try taking a public speaking course to calm your nerves. Communicating with a complete stranger can be intimidating, but remember that everyone started out somewhere.
#2 Surround yourself with the right crowd
You are the company you keep! Surrounding yourself with people you aspire to be like or even people with the same goal-driven mentality can do wonders for your confidence and networking skills. Attend an event in your industry or in a field that interests you. Make it a point to talk to 5 people. Eventually, you will want to feel comfortable enough to network with individuals that can help you achieve a higher means of success.
#3 Join Social Media Platforms
Social media platforms are no longer just for our pleasure! They are now used to help boost businesses, network with potential employers, and build personal brands. Social media platforms are an awesome go-to source for many people looking to network virtually.
Platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and even our very own City Girl Savings community are all great places to build your network. Some find social media as an easier form to communicate and lead into new conversations. Be sure to read How to Stand Out on Social Media to make the most of your platforms when networking!
#4 Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
The biggest obstacle for many people when working on their networking skills is getting out of their comfort zone. Going to events where networking opportunities take place is certainly a start for getting out of your comfort zone. Look for professional women’s events or industry mixers in your area.
Staying complacent can hinder growth. Trying new things and going to new places is a great way to network and get yourself to a comfortable level regardless of where you are. There’s a time and a place for playing it safe, and when networking there is no such time or place.
#5 Utilize contacts
Over the course of time, whether it’s in your career or in life experiences, you’ve accumulated contacts. Take some time out of your day and actually look through your phone contact list, skim previous business cards, and read over old emails to see what contacts you still have. You’d be surprised by the amount of people who are in network and who likely have the same interests and professional goals! Make it a point to reach out to an old contact every day for two weeks. You never know what doors may be opened by this exercise.
#6 Stay Positive
In case you didn’t know, here are 6 Reasons Why It Pays to be Positive. Staying positive is extremely important when working on your networking skills. Don’t let your mind take you to places it shouldn’t. No one has ever been worse off by starting a conversation with someone new. Maintaining a positive attitude when talking to others helps people feel comfortable around you. After all, nobody enjoys talking to a negative nelly! Give yourself a pat on the back for getting out of your comfort zone, and make the most of it with a positive attitude!
Networking is a skill, and just like any other skill, practice makes perfect. Don’t skimp on yourself, get out there and network! Your next boss, client, or sale may be a conversation away. What tips can you share to help improve one’s networking skills? Have any positive experiences come out of networking for you in the past? Post a comment below to get the discussion started!