Whether you’re moving to a new city, looking for a new job, or searching for connections in your current field, networking can be a catalyst for success in any industry. That is, if it’s done right. In order to help you network successfully, we have gathered some of the best tips in networking etiquette.
Dress for Success. A lot comes from first impressions, so whenever you’re attending a networking event, coffee date or happy hour, make sure you’re always dressed accordingly. That doesn’t always mean business attire, but as long as you look put together and appropriate, you’ll surely make a good first impression.
Keep it professional. These connections are to help your career, not for sharing your social life, so make sure to keep your exchanges professional. When introducing yourself, make eye contact and smile while shaking their hand. It also helps to have some answers prepared to the common questions like “What do you do?” and “What are you looking to do?” so that you don’t start nervously rambling.
Be Friendly and Genuine. People are happy to help you out when they feel genuinely connected with you, but they’re not as willing to help when they feel like they are only being used for what they can do for you. Be friendly and stay engaged in the conversation! Maintain eye contact, listen carefully and ask questions. Pro tip: put your phone on Do Not Disturb before heading into a networking event so you’re not distracted by notifications and can give your full attention to the conversation you’re having.
Reciprocate. Networking is about giving just as much as it is about taking. It’s meant to be a two-way street. So when you’re asking for help, connections, or advice, make sure that you’re offering it at some point in return as well. When the relationship is mutually beneficial, they will be more inclined to help you again in the future.
Stay Connected. Always be sure to follow up! Send them a thank you note or e-mail, that way you can tell your connection how great it was to meet them and how much you appreciate the help they provided you. Go ahead and connect with them on LinkedIn so that you both can follow each other’s career moves from here on out. Even after they’ve helped you, it’s always a good idea to stay connected with them through an occasional e-mail check-in or a coffee date every once in a while. You never know how your relationship
with them could help you again in the future!