They say that, in life, it’s not what you know but who you know that will help you go further. So, how do you get to meet the right people? You network!
The first thing to keep in mind is that life is a constant game of networking: every party, every event, every encounter is a chance to meet someone new, to forge new friendships and to build upon your black book of names and contacts.
That brings us to the first point that you should always look presentable. First impressions are incredibly important when it comes to networking. If you’re well groomed and dressed appropriately, people are more likely to come up to speak with you. They’ll also respect you more, which is essential if you want to build a great working relationship with them.
Having said that, learn to never dismiss anyone based on their appearance. For example, I was once sitting next to a man who looked as though he was wearing a hand-me-down suit. I didn’t make much of him and instead chatted to the other people at the table. When he left, someone pointed out that I was sitting next to the CEO of a major company and that he could have been a good contact for my budding business. I then felt like a muppet. So remember: first appearances can be deceiving when it comes to networking.
You should also keep in mind that, no matter what your ultimate aim, whether it’s to land yourself a job or make new friends, you should never approach a conversation with that in mind. Instead, know what’s happening around the world and in popular culture so you can prove to those you wish to impress that you’re an interesting individual – and the rest will follow.
While chatting to people, also make sure you listen to what they say and make connections. Do they work in publishing? Great, suggest a friend who you think would be suited to work with them and show them that you are willing to help without asking for anything in return.
But, whether you promise something or not, always make sure to follow up on an encounter. Let them know that you enjoyed your chat and that if they need anything, they shouldn’t hesitate to contact you. It won’t always work but, when it does, it might turn out to be a very lucrative friendship for both parties involved…
And yes, I know all this sounds a bit contradictory but it has to be, because networking is simply a game of who gets the upper hand. It’s very much like dating, but instead of getting laid you’re getting contacts.
Do you have any other advice for people who wish to network?
Let us know in the comments section below.