Written by Dorcas Solomon
For many, networking may be an arduous, and even awkward thing to do, however mastering this art is crucial in building relationships, expanding one’s network and creating opportunities.
I thought to share 5 easy, practical networking tips that can help build rapport and create lasting relationship.
1. Be observant- Observation is simply paying attention to the little things, the things that are unsaid. It can be as simple as noticing the book that someone is holding, reoccurring subject matter in a conversation, a gesture etc. This gives you topics to build on later, in case the conversation starts to get stale. It’s all about making the other person feel important and noticed.
2. Really listen- I always say there is a difference between hearing and listening. I used to have the tendency of “zoning-out” when a topic did not intrigue me, but I have quickly learned that it doesn’t matter whether or not I’m personally interested, as long as it’s of importance to the other person, it deserves attention. People can always tell when you are really listening, and everyone loves to talk to people who are engaging.
3. Be interested – Asking questions is also a sign of showing interest. Like I said earlier, it’s all about making the other person feel important and noticed. It also makes you know more, which creates room for further conversation.
4. Do your research- If you are meeting someone or going to an event, and you have the opportunity to know who’s on the guest list in advance, it doesn’t hurt to do some research on the person or the people before-hand. This is a great way to have some topics of engagement prepared and to impress them with your knowledge of their impact in their field— plus it makes you look good!
5. Smiling- Smiling shows you are approachable, inviting and welcoming. People are more likely to start up or engage in a conversation with someone that has a smile on.
6. Ask questions – People always love to talk about themselves; it makes them feel good, as it’s the topic they know best. So if you are unsure of how to begin a conversation, feel free to start by asking questions about the other person. It’s always a great dialogue starter.
Most importantly, don’t be afraid to end a conversation when there is nothing left to be said. Wrap it up and take your leave, rather than trying to drag it out, which often times, becomes awkward.
Now it’s your time to share- what are some tips that have helped you in your “small talk” and networking endeavours? Comment below!