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Master the Art of Networking with 5 Tips


Being an entrepreneur means that you’re in the business of relationships and networking, but not everyone loves bobbing in and out of a strange crowd with business cards in one hand and a plate of cheese in the other. Approaching people you don’t know while trying to build connections can be awkward. That’s why it’s crucial to master the art of networking. Remember, a face-to-face connection can help you to build professional relationships and, in minutes, jumpstart the career you’ve always wanted.

Whether you’re looking for a partner, a client, or an employer, networking events can make a real difference. Not only can it help you grow professionally, but good networking skills can also make a positive impact for your personal life as well. Hone your approach before your next event with these 5 tips:

1. Get there early.

If your biggest fear is getting stuck in a corner with your cup and a business card while everyone else chats away, be an early bird. This is not the time to be fashionably late. Ditch any notions you have about being cool and get there before the party starts. Networking events can be a bit daunting, especially if you’re going alone. You’re more likely to avoid getting lost in the crowd if you jump in while the group is small, and meet new people as they arrive, one at a time or in pairs.

2. Wear a conversation starter.

First impressions are everything. In just a quick glance a person can make an opinion about who you are based on your appearance and how you carry yourself. While a well put together look is key, consider heading into your networking event with a piece that will help you stand out. A compliment or question about your piece could be all it takes to start a meaningful conversation and connection. Avoid drowning in a sea of black and navy blue outfits by adding a pair of fun shoes or unique earnings. If there’s a dress code or dress expectation, make sure you follow the rules accordingly. You definitely don’t want to leave an impression that you’re gaudy or unprofessional.

3. Don’t get sucked in by negativity.

Negative Nancies always have time to show up at a networking event. They’ll rag on anything from the economy and job market to your business and career prospects. While you should do your best to dodge these people as much as possible, know that running into them will happen. Never feel pressured to engage with a negative person, especially at a networking event. Instead, do your best to turn the conversation around with constructive comments. If the person shows no sign of changing their attitude, politely move on. Make sure you’re not the Nancy as well! Be sure to hold positive conversations only. If you’re feeling down about work, consider this a prime opportunity to find new positions. Shift your focus onto hopes for a new position and the amazing skills that you have to offer.

4. Research, research, research.

Tactical networking practices work best when you’ve come prepared. Remember, you have a small window to make an impression on a large group, so help yourself out by doing research ahead of time. Start by knowing who is hosting the event. They’ll likely have a limited amount of time to talk, but remember they’re the ones who brought in all of the people you’re networking with. At the very least you’ll want to introduce yourself. Your biggest priority should be having an understanding of the guest list. Typically, events will post the guest list online ahead of the function. Use the list as a way to make note of the people you will definitely want to make connections with. If your host has a team, reach out to co-hosts or assistants to help make introductions with guests beforehand. Also, don’t forget to utilize social media! Recognize the faces of those who you’re most interested in talking to, and make sure to target them first before you get lost investigating where everyone is getting the chocolate samples.

5. Pretend your business card is money.

You might have an unlimited amount of business cards, but there’s no way you have as much brain storage. Before you blow through a hundred cards at your next networking event, consider that successful networking requires genuine connections. Instead, take some time to evaluate where your card is going. Use the event to make quality exchanges with others by really listening­ to those you connect with. Understanding a person’s passions will help you to build the relationships you came for. Aim to offer your card to people you’ve spent time talking with, whose passions you understand, and whose goals align with your own, and vice versa. You’re more likely to have a successful follow-up with them later.

Now that you’ve mastered how to network, put those new skills to good use! Begin a new career when you join EXIT Realty Massachusetts as a franchise owner. Give us just 30 minutes to find out how to get started, and we’ll give you a vast wealth of knowledge and tools to make your new venture successful.


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