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Networking-Watershed Style

April 13, 2011

Wendy Woods of Watershed Training Solutions teaching the art of Networking Images Courtesy of Enterprise Toronto–Arts Forum

With all the unfamiliar faces, introductions, and pressure to meet and mingle, networking can seem like a daunting task.

To ensure you can walk into any room or situation with ease, here are five of my top networking tips.

1. Build relationships, not the record for handing out the most business cards

Networking is about getting to know someone and building relationships. It’s the conversation that helps you understand the other person, their interests, and challenges. The business card only has value once you’ve developed rapport, established common interests or determined how you can help each other.

2. Focus on the other person

Treat the person you are talking to like they are the most important person in the room. Smart networkers know that networking is about showing an interest in others not others showing an interest in you.

3. Give

Giving is the basic premise of networking because, as they say, “What goes around comes around” and people will usually want to help you in return. Help others in whatever way you can with a valuable contact, a key networking event, or a worthwhile association. Often information we take for granted can be valuable to someone else.

4. Approach only one person or three or more at an event

You are more likely to get a positive response when you approach 1 individual or a group of 3 or more people. The dynamic of two makes it very difficult to break into a conversation and you could be waiting for some time.

5. Check in regularly with your network

Keep in touch with your network to see what they are up to and how you can help them. You never want to turn to your network when you really need them especially when you haven’t bothered staying in touch. Call and say hello, send an interesting article, or invite them to a networking event.

Looking for more Tips and Tricks? Try these great books:

networking for people who hate it dig your well black book

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