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Networking can be overwhelming, especially if you’re shy and an introvert. But, ask yourself – does it really have to be? It’s just you, a human, conversing with other humans about topics you’re passionate about.

Networking has become a part of every industry and is therefore an ongoing process that requires your attention. To become a successful networker, you should follow the belief that everyone has something to learn and gain. At the end of the day, we’re all humans looking to make meaningful connections. Use our networking tips for some direction.

1. Start Small

You don’t have to put yourself in a room with people you don’t know at all in your first attempt at networking. Start small and slow by networking with relatives or friends. Once you’ve mustered up a bit of courage, expand to people in your extended network. Maybe an alumnus of your school or an ex-employee of your firm?

This will take away the element of shock and make it an even playing ground to boost your confidence levels.

2. Let’s Put a Smile on That Face

How often have you approached someone who looks like they’re having the worst day ever? We imagine that number is not very high. People are more likely to approach someone who appears warm and welcoming. A simple smile does the job and is one of the easiest networking tips. When attending networking events try not to worry about how well you’re doing and instead focus on the fact that you made it there despite everything. You deserve points for trying, so wear your best asset with pride.

3. Have a Plan of Action

Every person at a networking event could potentially add value to your professional or personal life. But, are you aware of what value you could add to theirs? Before any networking event take some time to read about the event and the speakers, if any, that would be present. This could tell you what and who to expect at the event. Chalk out what you’d like to talk about and think of an opening line for yourself. It doesn’t hurt to practice in front of the mirror either. 

4. Time Your Move

An ill-timed move can be such a conversation killer. Getting your way in to a group that is already chatting away can be intimidating. Don’t force your way in or say something random. You can ease your way in with a smile, listen intently to get the gist of the conversation, and make eye contact. Then, when there is an opening, pose a question or make a statement to the group.

5. Listening is the Key

If you’re an introvert, this networking tip is your special move. People love to talk, especially at networking events. This is your moment to make the person feel heard by being a good listener. You’ll leave them feeling good about the conversation you just had, and you didn’t even have to say much.

6. Be Yourself

You may think you need to play pretend at networking events, but that is not always the case. It’s okay if you feel awkward or weird and don’t say the right things sometimes. It happens to most people. If you try to be something you’re not, you might end up making more mistakes and that wouldn’t serve the purpose of coming to this event now, would it?

7. Follow Up

If you’ve used some of these networking tips, you’ve probably already made a few useful contacts. Maybe exchanged numbers, emails, or added each other on LinkedIn? If you’d told someone you’ll get in touch with them or share some information, do it and reaffirm your intent to stay in touch. We know you’re busy but sparing two minutes of your time for this can go a long way in building a relationship with the person.

Once you’ve learned how to be on your A game with our networking tips, you can check out our blogpost on how to build your personal brand in just 5 steps

Do you have any other tricks that have helped you become an expert at networking? Leave a reply below and let us know.

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