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Updated by shirley williams on Feb 01, 2018
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Best Networking Tips

This is a consolidation of posts on networking tips. Where appropriate, I have credited the author by adding their link. I invite all to review and add to the list. More importantly, rate each tip using the thumbs up or down icon. It would be great to see which tip works the most and which ones, not so much!



Think of it as a chance to make new friends, so be yourself


Introduce Yourself to Attendees.

If you see someone standing alone, go up and introduce yourself. Many others will feel just as nervous as you do so a welcoming smile and “Hello” will not go astray.


Know Your Networking Goals.

  • Ask yourself what you would like to get out of the networking meeting. Remember to be open-minded and take a long-term view. Some meetings are based more on learning or gaining inspiration rather than on career opportunities and openings alone. Remember it is better to make 3 good contacts than 20 rushed ones.

  • Ask yourself what your goals are in participating in networking meetings so that you will pick groups that will help you get what you are looking for. Some meetings are based more on learning, making contacts, and/or volunteering rather than on strictly making business connections.


Develop Elevator Pitch.

  • Develop a ten to twenty second elevator pitch. This is essentially a short summary of who you are and what you do that should be able to be delivered within the time span of an elevator ride. Be able to describe who you are professionally and the benefits you might bring. Intend for this to be captive and value-adding, with the hope to attract interest for the conversation to continue or further dealings.

  • Prepare your elevator pitch beforehand. Tailor it to the networking even you're attending. Stick to 1 to 3 sentences describing what you're all about - make it interesting by injecting a few interesting personal tidbits that can lead to a more in-depth discussion.
    An elevator speech is the easiest way to share who you are, what you do, and why you want to get to know another person in a quick efficient manner.
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Do Not Be Aggressive.

Remember that networking is not supposed to be aggressive. Just as you can’t stand an overbearing sales person nagging at you, be wary that you aren’t bombarding others. A pushy attitude may drive networkers away for good.


Ask Good Questions.

  • This is your chance to learn as much as you can so take advantage of the opportunity - you will only get out what you put in. Have some questions ready to ask – for instance – What do you see as the main issues for your industry right now? What would you tell someone thinking of entering this profession? []
  • list text here Ask easy questions. Don't wait around the edges of the room, waiting for someone to approach you. To get the conversation started, simply walk up to a person or a group, and say, "May I join you" or "What brings you to this event?" Don't forget to listen intently to their replies..[]
  • The only way to get to know someone else is to ask them genuine and thoughtful questions. It’s always best to walk away from a conversation having allowed the other person to speak more than you did. Not only will they feel great about the conversation, but you’ll have gotten to know a lot about him/her, helping you plan and execute your follow-up more thoughtfully. []

Be a Good Active Listener.

  • Encourage others to participate in the conversation and make sure that you are alert throughout their responses. Act as a sponge and attempt to soak in everything that is being said. You will be thankful later when you try to recall what you have learnt!

  • Be engaged. Keep eye contact with your conversation partner. Nod your head and tilt your body towards them when you’re speaking. These small cues go a long way towards making them feel like you care, which helps you to build rapport and trust: the foundation on which you can later do business.


Vary the Networking Events You Attend.

This way you are able to mingle with a wide spectrum of individuals and gain knowledge from various sectors and professions.


Follow up

  • Follow-up is the key. If you say that you’ll call or be in touch in anyway, make it your priority to do so promptly. []

  • It's often said that networking is where the conversation begins, not ends. If you've had a great exchange, ask your conversation partner the best way to stay in touch. Some people like email or phone; others prefer social networks like LinkedIn. Get in touch within 48 hours of the event to show you're interested and available, and reference something you discussed, so your contact remembers you. []

  • You should follow up within 48 hours of meeting a contact you wish to keep in touch with, either by phone, e-mail or text.
    Networking experts are insistent about this one; if you don't follow up, you fail. Most networking gurus say that you should make contact — e-mail, text, phone call — within 48 hours of an initial meeting]. But what does this mean for those of us who are physically repulsed by the networking game? How do we get over our distaste of self-promotion disguised as a thank-you note?
    The best way to get over the awkwardness of the follow-up contact is to make it as organic as possible. If you are a good listener, then you will have no problem remembering that Bill is really interested in self-driving cars, Sarah collects vintage Hollywood movie posters, and Hyun is looking for a catchy name for the new iPhone app he's developing. (You can make crib notes on their business cards to jog your memory.)

  • Follow-up is of the utmost importance. If you just go to a conference and do nothing after it, you have almost completely wasted your time. The conference itself is the starting point to make contacts, to develop partnerships, and to appropriately promote yourself and your work. After everyone has returned home, it's up to you to make sure you stay on your new contacts' radars. Start by composing an email thanking each person for his or her time at the conference, recapping what you talked about, and suggesting a phone or Skype appointment to further develop your partnership.
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Have a Current Online Profile

Ensure that your online profile is always up-to-date.


Resist the Urge to Arrive Late. Be Early

  • It's almost counter-intuitive, but showing up early at a networking event is a much better strategy than getting there on the later side. As a first attendee, you'll notice that it's calmer and quieter – and people won't have settled into groups yet. It's easier to find other people who don't have conversation partners yet.

  • Arriving early can give you a chance to network with other professionals in a less-competitive environment.
    If you hate networking, then you probably hate going to parties with large crowds of people. You're not alone. Devora Zack, author of "Networking for People Who Hate Networking," says that introverts thrive in small group conversations, but clam up in crowds. One simple trick for avoiding a networking nightmare is to show up early when there are fewer people. As an early arriver, you have a chance to engage one-on-one with a few attendees before all of the noise and bustle sets in. You also have the luxury of making the first impression in people's minds before they are drowning in business cards and handshakes. In fact, you might have so many fruitful conversations in the first half hour that you don't have to stick around for the full networking event. Win-win!

  • Be an early (and friendly) bird. Arrive early to talks, and sit down near someone you don't know. This is a great opportunity to network, especially for introverts, because there is a reason to speak with the other person: You are both there to attend the session. Furthermore, this networking opportunity has an expiration date, so you won't be stuck making conversation indefinitely. After you sit, introduce yourself, then reference the speaker and his or her subject as a way to get the conversation started. Then, as soon as the speaker begins, you can whisper, “It was great to meet you. May I have your business card?”


Ditch the Sales Pitch.

Remember, networking is all about relationship building. Keep your exchange fun, light and informal – you don't need to do the hard sell within minutes of meeting a person. The idea is to get the conversation started. People are more apt to do business with – or partner with – people whose company they enjoy.
If a potential customer does ask you about your product or service, be ready with an easy description of your company. Before the event, create a mental list of recent accomplishments, such as a new client you've landed or project you've completed. That way, you can easily pull an item off that list and into the conversation.


Share Your Passion.

Win people over with your enthusiasm for your product or service. Leave a lasting impression by telling a story about why you were inspired to create your company. Talking about what you enjoy is often contagious, too. When you get other people to share their passion, it creates a memorable two-way conversation.



It's a simple – but often overlooked – rule of engagement. By smiling, you'll put your nervous self at ease, and you'll also come across as warm and inviting to others. Remember to smile before you enter the room, or before you start your next conversation. And if you're really dreading the event? Check the negative attitude at the door.


Don't Hijack the Conversation.

Some people who dislike networking may overcompensate by commandeering the discussion. Don't forget: The most successful networkers (think of those you've met) are good at making other people feel special. Look people in the eye, repeat their name, listen to what they have to say, and suggest topics that are easy to discuss. Be a conversationalist, not a talker. []


Enhance Your Business Card.

Try using an eye-catching color or shape for your business card to help it stand out.
Is there anything more boring and instantly forgettable than a business card? Now imagine that you walk away from a networking event with a stack of these things. Are you actually going to go to the trouble of scanning each one into your contacts, or saving them in an old-school Rolodex?
Here's another opportunity for introverts to shine. Who says that the only way to share your information with a networking contact is a boring business card? If you are naturally creative, you can dream up a whole world of business card alternatives.



  • One of the most awkward things about attending a networking event is the complete lack of things to do other than network. If you're not actively talking with someone, your only options are to graze the buffet (if you're lucky enough to see one), make a dozen trips to the bathroom or aimlessly wander the convention space looking for the "right" person to talk with. But what if you volunteer to work the event? Think about it. You always have something to do — setting up tables and chairs, working the registration table, assisting speakers and presenters, and helping the event organizers — and the networking opportunities come much more naturally []

-Volunteering at a conference is your ticket to achieving more of your conference (and career) goals than you thought possible. And quite frankly, very few people take advantage of this opportunity. Volunteering at a conference establishes you as a professional and a hard worker, allows others to observe your dedication to your craft, gives you easy access to networking opportunities, and opens doors to leadership and other volunteer experiences. Imagine that you're volunteering at the registration desk or in a session room. You are perceived as the authority. So not only will people approach you to ask for help, but you also will have an immediate and very natural way to strike up a conversation.
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Choose a Magic Number.

If you hate talking to strangers, make a game of it by giving yourself a number of people you must speak with in order to get a reward.
Showing up early is a great idea, but what if you are still terrified by the prospect of introducing yourself to strangers, no matter how small the group? You might be a savvy businessperson, a creative thinker and a hard worker, but nobody will know it if you never open your mouth.
Here's a tip: Set a goal to speak to a specific number of people, and stick to it no matter what [source: Clark]. If you promise yourself that you're going to speak to at least 10 new people at a networking event, don't break your promise. You could make it more entertaining by telling yourself, "I'll meet five people wearing blue and another five carrying large purses or briefcases."


Organize Events Yourself

You could organize your own networking event, complete with guest speaker.
On the surface, organizing a networking event seems like a wildly bad idea for a person who hates networking events, but bear with us. One of the big problems with networking of any kind is the power imbalance. When two strangers strike up a conversation, there is always a subtle jostling for position. Who is the one looking for a job and who is the one hiring? Who is the struggling entrepreneur and who is the established businessperson?
One of the easiest ways to boost your power rating is to be the one in charge [source: Clark]. Instead of approaching contacts yourself, people now have a reason to approach you first. Plus, as the organizer, you have the ability to choose the invitees. You can stack the deck, so to speak, so that everyone in attendance is a potential business partner or employer.


Be Interested

Most people love to talk about themselves, so being a good listener is an asset in networking. And it's something introverts excel at.
Networking events can be tough for introverts, because most of us are not natural salespeople, and we think that networking is all about selling yourself. But that's not true. Networking is about building relationships, not "making the sale." A critical part of building any relationship is showing sincere interest in the other party. This is where introverts excel.
If you are a naturally observant and thoughtful person, you are likely an excellent listener. Put those skills to use. When you strike up a conversation, don't attempt to launch into an awkward pitch for your business idea or job skills. Ask the person why they came to the event. And instead of flipping it immediately back to yourself, dig deeper. Ask how they got into their line of work and what they like about it (or don't like). If you feel comfortable, ask about their families or personal lives. This will make an impression.


Use Social media to get face time

If you live in the same town, invite them out for coffee or lunch. If you live far away, set up a phone call or video chat. During your meeting, let them share their story. You don't need to ask if they have an open job as this puts them on the spot and defeats the purpose of this informational session. (Besides, if there is an opening, they will most likely bring it up.) End your meeting by asking for names of other people to contact. Follow up with a thank-you note and if appropriate, include your resume and ask your new contact to keep


Get an Adult internship

An adult internship is a great way to test-drive a career before committing. You can propose one to a contact that you hit it off with when networking.
One reason people hate to network is that it feels like a lot of talking and very little doing. A thousand LinkedIn contacts are great, but if you are unemployed, or want to break into a new field, what you really need is practical on-the-job experience. That's why more and more mid-career professionals are seeking out unpaid internships
Let's say you worked 10 years as a life insurance salesperson, but really want to break into professional catering. In the food industry, no one is going to hire you without some experience. But what if you offer yourself as an unpaid, part-time intern? The employer doesn't lose anything in the bargain, and you learn how to prepare shrimp appetizers for a party of 500


Go Viral

Social Media (like Facebook and Twitter) can aid in your job search or business growth by letting you message people you don’t talk with every day.
If you've lost your job, don't keep that to yourself. Think about all of those Facebook friends you've accumulated over the years. Sure, you might be annoyed by their occasional political rants or inane kitten videos, but one of these people might be the critical connection between you and your next job. Think about it: The people you are closest to will automatically help you if they can. It's the folks you may not ordinarily talk to in person that need a broadcast message.
Before you send out a mass Facebook or e-mail message saying, "I'll do anything!" consider a more strategic approach. People are more likely to take action if they have parameters. Be as specific as possible about the fields and job titles you want to pursue. Saying that you want to work in "organic agriculture" or "vegetarian catering" is much more effective than saying, "I want to work with food." By giving your contacts specific keywords, they can refer you to friends or companies who match those searches. The worst someone can do is ignore you (or defriend you), but you never know who holds the magic ticket to a great job opportunity.


Have an open and confident body language

Have an open and confident body language

Have an open and confident body language for the memorable first impression.
You have about 7 seconds to make a first impression. You want to come across as a confident business professional - a mover and shaker. The confident body language can help you accomplish just that.
Open torso with uncrossed arms. Head and chest up. Shoulders pulled back. Expand your body to take up space. Mirroring other's body language. Smile at people walking by. Always offer to shake hands.


Have a firm and welcoming handshake.

A handshake is an act of confidence and respect when meeting another professional - approach it as such. Make it firm, warm and authoritative.
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