4 Tips for Effective Professional Networking

businessmen-shaking-hands1

 

Professional networking is one of those things that rarely feels natural. You’re always thinking about what you should say, how you should look, whether to appear engaged or disinterested, when to follow up with new connections, and how to ask for help. However, professional networking is vital for your career’s long-term success. And as someone who has recently entered the professional workforce, it’s imperative that you understand some key points.

Keep These 4 Tips in Mind

Whether you’re a recent college graduate, former stay-at-home mom turned business woman, or anyone in between, you’ll want to keep the following networking tips in mind to ensure your entrance into the corporate world is as seamless as possible.

    1. Dress Professionally

What you wear says a lot about you. While it’s okay to look stylish, avoid trying to be a trendsetter. You can wear the latest designer clothing on the weekends. During the week – and especially when you know you’ll be networking – wear conservative business attire that shows you take yourself seriously.

    1. Design a Standout Business Card

“Your business cards are an extension of your business,” says Hotcards, a printing company with a focus on marketing. “They are used for networking, shared with clients and most importantly, placed in those fishbowls in restaurants to win a free meal.” All jokes aside, if you want to excel at networking, you need a quality business card to fall back on.

If someone asks for your information in a networking situation, it’s not appropriate to grab a napkin and write down your name and phone number. While they may not directly say it, they’re asking for a business card. Carrying around cards with you is considered professional; don’t get caught without one.

    1. Master the First Impression

The key to effective networking is mastering the first impression. While you’ll hear business coaches discuss dozens of different points and strategies, successfully making a first impression generally comes down to three things:

    • Eye contact. The first thing you want to think about is eye contact. Whether you spot someone from across the room or accidently bump into them, eye contact lets the other individual know that you want to speak with them. A lack of eye contact says you have something to hide.
    • Handshake. Your handshake also says a lot about you. A short, limp handshake puts you in a position of weakness, whereas a strong, extended shake gives you a certain level of power and authority. As a rule of thumb, begin shaking the other person’s hand when you give them your name and let go after both names have been exchanged.
    • Emotion. Finally, you need to show a little emotion. You don’t want to appear giddy or unprofessional, but a brief smile and some facial expressions can help alleviate pressure and humanize the interaction.

As you can see, first impressions aren’t as difficult as some people make them out to be. If you can make eye contact, give a firm handshake, and convey some emotion, you’ll be just fine.

    1. Understand How/When to Follow Up

For some, interacting with people is easy. It’s the following up that’s difficult. Sound familiar? Good networkers understand the art of following up after an initial introduction. There’s a whole science to it, but you can read more about the topic by checking out this guide by Darrah Brustein of YEC Women.

Don’t Let Networking Scare You

Networking can be intimating, that’s for sure. However, it doesn’t need to be scary. Always remember that networking is just as awkward for the other party as it is for you. The more you practice interacting with people, the easier it will become to have natural conversations that lead to sustainable business relationships down the road. Keep these four tips in mind and you’ll be just fine.

Share small business news, blogs and social media tips with Project Eve’s community of small business owners and entrepreneurs today. Our contributors come from a wide range of backgrounds; so whether you are a small business owner, social media strategist, financial adviser, serial entrepreneur, or write an amateur blog we urge you to contribute a blog to our 500,000+ community today. For more information, please refer to our Content Submissions Guidelines.

37 COMMENTS

  1. Good – I should certainly pronounce, impressed with your website. I had no trouble navigating through all the tabs as well as related information ended up being truly easy to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it in the least. Reasonably unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or anything, web site theme . a tones way for your customer to communicate. Nice task..

  2. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually something which I think I would never understand. It seems too complex and extremely broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

  3. Wow that was odd. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyhow, just wanted to say wonderful blog!

  4. Greetings from Colorado! I’m bored to tears at work so I decided to check out your blog on my iphone during lunch break. I really like the information you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m shocked at how fast your blog loaded on my phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, excellent site!

  5. Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the images on this blog loading? I’m trying to find out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog. Any feed-back would be greatly appreciated.

  6. The subsequent time I learn a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I imply, I do know it was my option to read, however I really thought youd have something fascinating to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about one thing that you may repair for those who werent too busy searching for attention.

  7. This design is spectacular! You obviously know how to keep a reader entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Wonderful job. I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

  8. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to your site? My website is in the exact same area of interest as yours and my users would really benefit from some of the information you provide here. Please let me know if this okay with you. Thanks a lot!

  9. I’d have to verify with you here. Which isn’t one thing I usually do! I take pleasure in reading a submit that will make folks think. Additionally, thanks for permitting me to remark!

  10. I simply wanted to thank you so much all over again. I am not sure the things I would’ve worked on in the absence of those tips and hints provided by you relating to my field. Entirely was a very fearsome scenario in my position, nevertheless finding out the specialized approach you handled it took me to weep over contentment. I will be thankful for your information and even sincerely hope you recognize what a powerful job that you’re accomplishing training many people through your web site. I’m certain you’ve never got to know any of us.

  11. Thank you for any other magnificent article. Where else may just anyone get that type of information in such an ideal approach of writing? I have a presentation subsequent week, and I am at the look for such information.

  12. I like the helpful information you provide in your articles. I’ll bookmark your weblog and check again here frequently. I am quite sure I’ll learn plenty of new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!

  13. I think this is among the most significant info for me. And i’m glad reading your article. But should remark on some general things, The web site style is ideal, the articles is really great : D. Good job, cheers

  14. Hi there! Quick question that’s entirely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My site looks weird when viewing from my iphone. I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to resolve this issue. If you have any suggestions, please share. With thanks!

  15. I was wondering if you ever considered changing the structure of your site? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or 2 pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

  16. Howdy this is somewhat of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding knowledge so I wanted to get advice from someone with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!

  17. A lot of of whatever you assert happens to be astonishingly precise and it makes me ponder why I had not looked at this with this light previously. Your piece really did switch the light on for me personally as far as this topic goes. However there is 1 point I am not really too comfortable with so whilst I make an effort to reconcile that with the actual central idea of your issue, permit me observe exactly what the rest of your subscribers have to point out.Very well done.

  18. Attractive portion of content. I simply stumbled upon your blog and in accession capital to claim that I acquire in fact loved account your weblog posts. Anyway I will be subscribing in your feeds or even I achievement you get right of entry to consistently quickly.

  19. I wanted to draft you this tiny word to finally say thanks once again with your breathtaking tricks you’ve featured above. It’s unbelievably generous of you to present unhampered just what most of us could have offered for sale for an e-book to make some money for themselves, mostly now that you could have tried it if you considered necessary. These points also served to become good way to know that other individuals have the identical dreams like mine to understand good deal more with respect to this issue. I’m certain there are lots of more pleasant opportunities up front for individuals who examine your website.

  20. There are some fascinating cut-off dates on this article however I don’t know if I see all of them center to heart. There’s some validity but I will take maintain opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we would like more! Added to FeedBurner as well

  21. I’ll immediately grab your rss feed as I can’t find your e-mail subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Please let me know so that I could subscribe. Thanks.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here