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3 Ways You Can Conquer Your Next Networking Event

One of the challenges I found when advancing up the corporate ladder of success was the need to be networking. As much as I’d like to take credit for all of my successes, the fact is that other people were also influential in my ability to get a job done. We all need a network of people to help us every day as we continue along a path of advancement.

That first networking event made me so nervous. Forget about just having sweaty palms. I was pretty sure there was sweat dripping down my sleeves. I thought for sure everyone would see me as a rookie, an inexperienced manager at best, and that I would ruin my chances of further advancement before I’d even settled into a new position. That nervousness propelled me to look at how others have conquered networking and it lead me to develop my 3 steps to networking success.

Preparation won’t take away the nerves, but it can make them manageable. Here’s what I do.

Step #1: Know How You’re Different

I often thought that I needed to be just like everyone else in order to be successful. When you blend in, you become a team player. That might work well for job security, but I’ve found that does very little for networking. If you want to conquer your next networking event, then you need to find what sets you apart from everyone else on a professional level.

Your passionate love for German Shepherds might make for some interesting small talk, but that won’t help you form a long-term networking relationship. No one has your exact experiences. Take the most intriguing parts of your personal story and use them to spark incredible conversations. By knowing how you’re different, you’ll know how you can begin to network.

Step #2: Be a Niche Expert

People network professionally because they want to increase their levels of influence within their own circles. This causes them to seek out experts, both locally and globally thanks to sites like LinkedIn, because outside expertise becomes their expertise. I’ve found that when you know everything there is to know about your part of your industry, no matter how large or small that section happens to be, then you become influential.

“What do you do?” is a come ice-breaker question at a networking event. This is the perfect time to offer your niche expertise. “I manage a landscaping business where we transform unused space into natural masterpieces.” It really only takes once polished sentence to convey that you know what you’re talking about.

Step #3: Take Command

There will always be leaders and there will always be followers. It seems like everyone at a networking event wants to be a leader, but that is only a surface observation. I’ve been to dozens of networking events and I can tell you that most people would rather be at home or they’re attending because there is an open bar.

If you want to form a networking relationship, then take it. Offer your expertise in exchange for your central positioning. Host networking events instead of attending them as you grow more comfortable with this process. Become the “go-to” person everyone else wants to have on their team.

Conquering a networking event isn’t easy to do, especially when you’re first getting started. With enough preparation, however, I can attest that you can do anything. Take the first step today. It could be something as simple as starting a Facebook group. When you show that your experiences are valuable, you’ll be able to have people come to you.

Once I discovered that truth, gone were the sweaty palms. Adopt these steps and hopefully you’ll conquer your next event.

5 Tips to Improve Your Networking Skills

Networking is one of the big ‘it’ words in business these days, but the fact is that the average person only has an idea about what it means but few really know what makes a good networker. In fact, the best networkers are more like rock stars than normal people, and they use their networking skills to get ahead and stay on top, even in a down economy like today.

With that in mind, here are 5 tips that will help you become a better networker and help your business or career. Read closely and use these tips and you’ll find that it’s not nearly as hard as you think to use networking to get ahead.

1- Never leave the house without your business cards. If you go out of the house and you don’t have your cards you may miss opportunities to network that pop up all over the place, like the grocery store, the mall, the post office or a restaurant. Plus, having your cards proves you are serious about what you do.

2- If you’re at an event, don’t spend all of your time talking with just one person (unless they are VERY successful, in which case hang on their every word). Instead walk around and introduce yourself to as many people as possible, strike up short, 5 minute conversations and then move on.

3- Listen.  Many people tend to talk more than they listen, but if you’re looking for people that can help your career you need to know that they can help your career, and you’ll find that out by listening to them.  Of course if they sound like gigantic blowhards then feel free to blab all you want, but don’t waste too much time with them.

4- Practice your 60 second spiel, or what some call an ‘elevator speech’. If you can explain with clarity what you do in 60 seconds you will leave someone with a good impression and your business card.

5- Follow up with new contacts.  If they have anything to offer make sure you follow up. Call, send an email or write a note.  Heck, if they’re important enough send up a smoke signal if you have to, just as long as they don’t forget who you are.

Follow these 5 tips and you’ll soon be the network king, reaping the benefits of the new kingdom you created. Good luck.

5 Tips to Use LinkedIn to Network With People

One of the main websites leading the way in the social network game is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a social networking website that caters to more than just social networking for friendships; LinkedIn specializes in business networking for everyone. The website helps its users to network within a business as well as social platform in many different ways.

Tip #1: Put Up a Profile Picture or Image

One of the best ways to network on LinkedIn is to post a photo or picture of either yourself or a photo that illustrates what you are all about. Post a photo that is easily viewed in a thumbnail size and try to incorporate color as much as possible so it is easy for others to see just by quickly scanning it.

Tip #2: Fill Out Your Entire Profile

Make sure every single aspect of your profile on LinkedIn is filled out. It looks better to people if you have a multitude of information on your profile. The first impression of yourself is through the information you provide in your profile; so make it as comprehensive as possible.

Tip #3: Make Sure Your Website or Email Address is clearly visible

You want to make sure that individuals that view your LinkedIn profile are able to contact you if they feel so inclined. Having your website or email address clearly visible on your profile makes the ability for others to find you and contact you that much more easily.

Tip #4: Add People to Your Profile that are Interested in what you are Interested in

If you are interested in fashion, then try and add individuals to your network that share fashion interests. If you market an internet company, then add internet savvy individuals. You will be able to find people’s interests on their profile, so look and add appropriately.

Tip #5: Post Your LinkedIn Profile link on other Social Networks

In order to get the most networking power out of LinkedIn, make sure you post your LinkedIn profile link on anywhere you can. Post it on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blog sites, etc. You will find people clicking on it and messaging you merely from them seeing the link on another social networking site.

4 Ways to Network During Your Job Search

When you are looking for a job, you should never forget to network. It is very important to have a strong network for your job search. The first reason is that your network shows your credibility and this supports you in your job hunt. For example, if you know someone highly regarded in your industry, this vouches for your strengths and capabilities. Believe it or not, sometimes people are awed by those who you are connected to. “Oh, you know him?”, is something you hear often when people find out that you are connected to important people. In other words, the stronger your network, the better.

The second reason is that when networking, you never know that you might be able to land a job or be offered a position within your network itself! When you build a strong network, not only does it supports you by giving you credibility and presence, but it also might present you with career opportunities. Having a strong network helps to ensure your survival in the industry. Some of you might already understand the importance of networking for your job search, but most of you do not know where to start. Here are four ways you could try to build your network.

1. Work Within Your Current Network

Often times, people focus too much on reaching out to something new they forget about what is right in front of them. You could expand your network by actually networking with those within your network. Start by making everyone in your own network love you, and chances are they will introduce you to their networks. This is a great way to expand your network without having to reach out.

2. Quality Over Quantity

You do not have to focus too much on the number of people in your network. Why take all the effort to know 100 new people, when you can have 10 influential and powerful people in your network? This helps to pass more strength into your current network.

3. Attend Networking Events

It might sound boring to you, but attending networking events in your industry helps you to expand your network without much effort. It gives you the perfect setting to approach others in your industry. Just be sure to present yourself well.

4. Use Social Media

There are plenty of social media platforms today, but one of the most popular is LinkedIn. Use social media as it provides you the opportunity to get to know others in your network. The main aim of these platforms is to network. So get networking!

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