Being a natural introverted, I have worked hard to develop my soft skills, including public speaking and proper communication. I have come to realize how important these skills are and how valuable they are for my career. In this article, I just want to share a few tips I have found very useful when attending networking events.
“It should be your goal not to meet the most people as possible, but to understand who else is connected to whom and what the rest of the network looks like.” –David Burkus
- The first advice is to listen more than you talk. This may sound counter-intuitive but I have found out that if I listen closely to what the other person is talking about I am will be able to engage in conversation easier and be truly interested in what the other person is communicating
- Always bring more business cards than you think you will use. More than once I have run short on business cards and I felt so embarrassed. Speaking of business cards, if you are a student and do not have a full-time job yet, get yourself a simple business card with at least your contact information. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy but you would be able to hand them out to potential employers. This also applies to career fairs, give them out along with your resume. They are more likely to keep the business card handy to contact you later.
- Be respectful of their time. I have been in situations when the other person drags the conversation longer than it should be just for the sake of talking. Don’t get me wrong, if the conversation you are having goes on for a long time while the two of you are still engaged, GREAT! But remember, the other person may want to keep talking to other people. I would say this is one of the trickiest situations as you don’t want to cut the conversation short or drag it for more than it needs to.
- Be you. No matter who you are talking to do not pretend to be someone you are not. The more authentic you are the more likely they are to remember you in the future. Think of something that makes you unique and talk about that. Think back to your last networking event, who do you tend to remember the most? The person who spent most of the conversation engaging in small talk or the person that was engaged in the conversation and had fun facts or engaging ways of talking about their career?