I am basically an introverted person. Interacting with strangers used to give me the shiver. But, considering the nature of my business and being an Business Owner this is one skill which I cant help without and neither can you if you are keen on career mobility.
Here are a few Tips to becoming a better Networker:
Craft Your Story:
You create a story when you say something unique. It could be a unique profession, a way unique your name is spelt- it could be anything. The idea is that your story should be easy to remember. That’s all that is there. Each one of us is unique in someway. But in the process of keeping up with our peers we end up copying them totally and seem to forget our uniqueness.
As a starting point, you may like to consider the following questions:
- What is something I do that very few other people do?
- What is something about me that people usually find interesting and ask further questions about?
- What is something that is likely to make me memorable?
And keep the story flexible depending on the audience. Talk kids when with a women with children. Talk out doors If with an athletic looking guy in the 30-40.
Common Points of Interest
This is an extension of the previous point. Kind of like In Rome do as the Romans do. Your unique story of your hobby of wildlife photography is not likely to fetch interest if the other person doesn’t find it so. So look for common points of interest.
Never Eat alone
This sounds like overkill. But, the point is , lunching with someone is a good way to get a conversation going for a period of time and good things can come of it. If you decide to have lunch with one new person every month – its going to make a great difference to your network.
Take the initiative
Personally I find this to be the toughest part. Given a choice I would rather wait for someone to talk to me rather than take the initiative – but , so is most everyone. So doing the opposite pays. And if like me you feel shy talking to strangers you could check this post.
Keep in Contact
After you have taken the initiative , overcome your shyness , and initiated contact – you need to maintain the contact. This is pure Grunt work if I may say so and a lot of people miss out here. unlike the thrill and subsequent euphoria of making contact with strangers – keeping in contact doesn’t require great effort – but it does require consistent effort. All you need to do is drop a one liner every once a month or share something interesting. In the case of later – Make it personal and do not overdo.