By: Lia Sbisa
It’s no secret the power and benefits that networking has to offer. We’ve been told time and time again…or not, that creating a network of influential and successful people is crucial to one’s success. At a networking event, or just in a venue full of people, we all want to have that golden conversation with the biggest name in the room. It’s only natural to feel that the more people that know them, the more people they know. Your network does not stop with that one person, it extends to all of their networks as well.
As young adults making our way into the working world, and even those already well established in the workforce, it is important to make ourselves noticed and be the differentiator that radiates uniqueness. Be the person that everyone wants to network with at an event or even just at a casual get together.
- Get Involved
Whether you’re seasoned in your extracurriculars or just starting out, being a part of something other than work or school is a great way to a) network and b) have something to bring to the table in an introductory conversation. The more you do, the more you will relate to a broader audience (not saying overload yourself).
- You do not have to hold the highest or coolest position.
The status you hold within a company may help your networking reputation, but it does not solely dictate how marketable your other attributes may be. Just as we learn from those top notch professionals, they learn from us. Any influential being is on the lookout for more up and coming influential beings.
- Take time to learn about your own experiences and learn to talk about them.
If you’re a college student or newly entering the workforce, become an expert on your experiences (internships, jobs, campus news, extracurriculars). Networking with older professionals can be intimidating, but much less tricky if you can relate to an experience even on the most minimum level. If you are more established in the workforce, know a little bit about a lot of things. Nothing is more attractive than being able to hold a thoughtful conversation over something that excites your audience, even if it may not be your cup of tea. This goes for anyone and everyone: READ THE NEWS. However you choose to keep up on current events, just do it, or start doing it if you do not. It is okay to admit that you do not know much about a topic, you become more interesting when you’re interested.
- Be interested in who you’re talking to.
As previously stated, you become more interesting when you’re interested. Just a rule of thumb (whether you want to admit it or not), everyone loves to talk about themselves. Be able to relate to a few key topics during a conversation (talk about a travel destination that you have in common, ask about the company they work for and how they got to their position). People like you more when they think you like them just as much if not more.
- Initiate a relationship that grows beyond your initial introduction.
Do not let the relationship end with the end of a conversation. If the conversation allows, briefly share your goals for your near future and give a rough timeline of where you’ll be in the next few months and express your interest in keeping in touch. Find common ground and set up a time to check in if you have established a relationship that will last longer than just one conversation. Grab a business card and follow up the conversation with an e-mail reminding whoever it is that you enjoyed their time and throw in your favorite topic from that conversation.
Believe that you are worth meeting. Be interested. Involve yourself in things that you enjoy. Make people believe you’re worth meeting.