Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, everyone can benefit from a few additional networking tips. There are lots of good resources on the Careers Service networking pages, blogs, and books (we like Devora Zack’s ‘Networking for People Who Hate Networking‘, which you can borrow from the Careers Service), but here are a few of our top tips.
Top tips for networking
If you get an attendance list for an event, why not look through it in advance to see if there’s anyone you want to talk to? Perhaps you could read their latest paper before the conference, or brush up on what their organisation does.
Think about what you want to say about yourself. Even if you’re more comfortable listening rather than talking, it’s good to share something about yourself so that the other person doesn’t feel that they’re responsible for carrying the conversation.
If you’re not a natural conversationalist, think of a few openers. Even just a simple ‘How was your day?’, or ‘What kind of work do you do?’ can help to get the conversation started.
Try to be positive when you talk to people. It’s easy to start conversations by moaning about the keynote speaker or the food, but would you want to spend time with a complainer? Try focusing on the positives, or asking questions instead.
End your conversations politely. Devora Zack has a few great closers:
• I really enjoyed our conversation – thank you!
• May I have your card? It was great meeting you.
• Would you excuse me? I just need to make a call.
• I promised myself I’d circulate so I’d better walk around. Nice to meet you!
Make a few notes about the people that you’ve talked to, perhaps on the back of their card if they gave you one, so that you can remember them more easily next time.
Follow up with the people you enjoyed meeting – why not send them a polite email saying that you enjoyed meeting them, or send them a personalised LinkedIn request, reminding them who you are and where you met?