10 Top tips for improving your networking skills

Networking is one of the most efficient and inexpensive ways of building both your own profile and that of your business. However, most young professionals who are inexperienced with networking find it a daunting prospect. Below are some useful tips for efficient networking to help you feel more confident.

1) Have a plan: Always come to a networking event with a plan in mind. Research the event beforehand and if you can, get hold of the invite list and pick out a few key individuals to try and speak to.

2) Be prepared: It’s always a good idea to know what you could say about yourself to avoid being lost for words, think about your role, the business you work in and the benefits you bring.

3) Dress appropriately: Research the type of event you will be attending and judge how casual/formal you will be expected to dress. First impressions are crucial so the right choice of clothing is vital.

4) Smile: Make yourself seem approachable to others. Don’t stand in a corner trying not to make eye contact, instead, smile and communicate open body language so people will want to speak to you.

5) Have questions in mind: Use your research of the event and have some engaging questions in mind.

6) Connect others: The best networkers will try to include other people. If you seem willing to help make connections for others, they will often return the favour and aid you in your relationships. 

7) Move on: Don’t focus all of your energy on one person. Once you’ve made a connection and gained all the information you need, find a polite way of finishing the conversation and moving on to other people.

8) Listen: Don’t monopolize the conversation. Ask the other person questions and let them speak about themselves. Listen carefully to what they have to say and try and find things you have in common that you can discuss.

9) Follow up: Once you have formed a good connection with someone, it is vital that you follow up after the event. Networking is a continuous process so send them an email, connect with them on LinkedIn/Twitter or phone them up to ensure that the relationship keeps on growing.

10) Keep practicing: Your networking skills will only improve with ample practice. Even if a particular event doesn’t work out for you, don’t let that put you off, you can learn from your mistakes and do better next time.

This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.

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