Professional Networking – part two

“Maximising Christmas Events and Parties!”

In part 1, we explored ‘what is networking and why even bother with networking?’. Hopefully, you took away the fact that creating conversations can lead to doors opening, directly or indirectly; in a professional search. With the Christmas party season upon us and a peak of events, this is a great opportunity to put those ‘elevator speeches’ into action. The secret is to also enjoy it and feel comfortable! Below are some useful tips to help you present your ‘best, most confident self’:

  • Choose clothes/jewellery that makes you feel confident and smile!
  • When you walk in, have a focus, be it finding your name tag or getting a drink and walk in with a smile, having completed any mental preparation.
  • Be ready to connect & uplift the person you are with – possible ways to make contact:
    • Individual –“Hi my name is xxxx, what brings you here?”
    • Group –“Hi my name is xxx, would you mind if I join you?”
  • Search for what you have in common.
  • Be quick to contribute, ie what can you share, give, offer someone else? Think about your knowledge, resources, articles you have read, books etc.
  • Trust your instinct as to when to introduce your ‘elevator speech’. You can help create the opportunity by asking the person you are talking to, “what do you do?”. Remember, for people to remember you, they want to feel that “excitement” in your elevator speech, they want to have connected in some way, so embody that enthusiasm.
  • If the conversation naturally leads to careers, you can be curious with them, “how did you find your role here?”. In case you meet somebody who is already in your desired field and your instinct tells you they are open and friendly; be even more inquisitive:
    • “What’s the company culture like where you work?”
    • “Would you know other companies in this area who typically hire for our field/our skills?”
  • Having spoken to somebody, give yourself a few minutes before you make eye contact with another. Use this time to write a few notes on the back of their card or on a notepad/device – just something that will make you remember the person a day later. Then connect with them on LinkedIn.

If despite all this theory from Part 1 & 2, the idea of networking still feels you with dread and shyness, look at the following 2 clips for some inspiration. Remember that “Courage means being afraid to do something, but still doing it”.

In closing, I would like to wish you a Healthy and Happy Festive Season and all the very best for 2015.

Season’s greetings, Debbie Croft

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