Networking is a necessary evil — we all have to do it, and we all wonder if we're doing it correctly. Those who've mastered the art of small talk and self promotion have been able to boost their own professional development through the connections of others.
Turns out, it's all about changing your mindset and approaching networking in a new way. Here are some tips courtesy of Verizon and the Dallas-based professional group Boss Women to help make sure you don't lose out on any opportunities.
Put your best foot forward
When you feel your best, other people take notice. No matter how big or small you are in your career, if you continue to engage and ensure that your strategy is to always make a lasting impression, you will see that people will be more inclined to establish a deeper connection with you. Confidence is contagious, and while it may seem simple, a smile goes a long way.
Nail your elevator pitch
Make it concise and straight to the point. No beating around the bush and no overtly selling yourself.
Engage, but don't be an attention seeker
It's easy to fall into the hole of talking about yourself and letting people know about all the things you do in a networking setting. But take a look back and think about the last person who wouldn't stop rambling about themselves — don't be that person.
Leave them wanting more
This is why it's important to nail down your elevator pitch and keep it short, clear, and concise. Give people the basics of your story, but leave them wanting more so they are inclined to email, call, or text to get to know you better.
Trade contact information
A good rule of thumb is to make sure you're getting back as many business cards as you hand out. You should always have a stellar set of business cards ready, but really — who keeps up with cards? Instead, use your smartphone to organize the new contacts you make by snapping pics of the cards.
Jot down some notes about the person you just met, including one key point from your conversation. It doesn't have to be business-related — just anything to help you remember them when you follow up a day or two later.