Out of college and in search of a new job? However with the job market buzzing with more than a hundred applicants for that one post, it leads to the sad fact that those with the right contacts have an added advantage for their applications to be reviewed.
Bernadette Braganza gives you tips on networking.
Don’t approach a person with the view of getting something
No one likes a person who approaches them only for their benefit. Don’t go pursuing people just to get something out of them. Thinking about how you can use a contact to your advantage can distract you.
Build a rapport
Ask good questions. When asked a question respond with relevant answers. Keep eye contact but don’t stare a person down (you’ll probably end up creeping that person out). Pay attention during the conversation as getting distracted will show that you are not interested in the conversation taking place. Pay attention to your body language. Remember your actions must match your words.
Use a positive tone
The right tone can make all the difference in the art of communication. A negative tone can lose the meaning of what you are speaking (even if it’s positive). Also choose your words carefully. For example, the difference between “I would like you to do this for me” and “It would be great if you could do this for me.” is the tone Both sentences have the same meaning. However, the second sentence would have more appeal as compared to the first since it is not only sounds less dominating, but also shows that you appreciate the listener.
Find a mutual connection
It’s synonymous to having mutual interests. This can work as a great ice breaker. For example, if you are an avid sports lover and the person you want to approach is just as enthusiastic, you can use this as a way to get into a conversation.
Always keep in touch
Once you’ve established a connection with someone, don’t just fade away and wait to contact them only when you need help. If you are unable to meet the person or if that person is too busy to meet you, a text message or email with something you think that person would be interested in is good enough. (Tip: Don’t spam or you will end up being blocked).
Don’t keep it only about yourself
Avoid excess self-promotion. Don’t keep steering the conversation to yourself. It can put an impression that you are vain. It is of course good to highlight your strengths and USP, just don’t overdo it. Also, in order to find out more about a person it is important to ask questions about the other person.
With the ever-increasing use of social media and the use of professional sites like LinkedIn, everyone prefers to interact online. Remember the rules for networking online is the same as networking with someone face to face. Keep your profile strictly professional.
Social Events and Gatherings
Go to different social events and gatherings. Connect with different people. If you have a friend coming along with you, ask him/her to introduce you to people they know and whom you think you would like to meet.
Seminars, discussions and exhibitions
These are great places where you can find an opportunity to interact with professionals of various fields.
Meeting over coffee
You could meet professionals over a cup of coffee. This is a great way to get talking and build a rapport with another person. Also, one thing to be remembered when meeting someone for coffee: always be punctual and respect the other person’s time. Busy executives may be on a tight schedule and keeping them late could give the impression that you have no respect for time.
Keep a sizeable amount of business cards with you and give it to people you would like to keep contact with. Also when anyone gives you their card keep it in a card case or in a safe place. In case you find the need to write something down urgently, avoid writing on the back of the card. If you can’t find anything else and need to use it, ask the person whose business card it is. This is because some people take great care on how they design their cards and spend a lot of money on them. Writing something on the back of their card can look impolite.
Finding mutual interests can work as a great ice breaker. If you are an avid sports lover and the person you want to approach is just as enthusiastic, you can use this as a way to get into a conversation. Once you’ve established that, don’t just fade away and wait to contact them only when you need help
Volume 5 Issue 1