Did you ever go on a job interview or meeting with a recruiter, potential client or business partner and wonder why they never called you back?
In this highly competitive economic climate, one has to learn to stand out from the crowd – and how to be patient and persistent. The majority of people have difficulties sparking conversation with someone they do not know due to a lack of confidence, fear of rejection and possible sense of unworthiness.
This can be overcome by first practicing with familiar faces, such as relatives and friends. Once a certain comfort level is achieved, you can move onto larger groups with more unfamiliar faces such as alumni networks and clubs that relate to an interest or activity of enjoyment. From there it’s just a short transition to building relationships and networking with that potential business contact or client.
According to the Career Center at Berkeley College in California, the following tips are beneficial when networking:
- Check your attitude: Get mentally geared up before you show up, because attitude often guides behavior; eliminate negative self-talk.
- Redefine what it means to interact with “strangers”: View this as an opportunity to find what you have in common with others there.
- Prepare and practice your self-introduction: This helps to make the introduction clear, interesting, natural, confident and well-delivered when it counts most.
- Risk rejection- it’s not the end of the world: Some individuals may not respond to your introduction the way you would like. Don’t take it personally, and move on.
Networking is crucial to finding jobs, recruiting talent, winning over new clients and discovering investors who will support your cause. It is important to identify goals before attending networking events (or job interviews or client pitches!) and always keep a healthy sense of humor. Treat everyone as you would like to be treated since this is not only courteous but helpful in developing relationships you can depend on in a time of need. Last but not least, remember to physically move around the room while attending networking events because you can’t learn nearly as much about others from sitting in your chair, so get out there and show them what you’ve got!