Hi babes! Alyssa here, and today I am talking about one of the most important skills that you can (and should) master - networking. In my early 20's, networking was really kind of scary for me and I found myself feeling intimidated and shy. I felt awkward asking people for "favors" and fearing that rejection. However, after some practice over the years, I truly feel like I'm starting to get the hang of it. Networking can provide you with so many unique experiences, opportunities, and life-long relationships; so if that's what you're looking for, keep reading.
Keep it Simple
The most important thing to remember is that you're here to meet people and make connections. Instead of feeling like you're asking people for favors, ask yourself what you can offer them in return. Keeping it simple and light-hearted will ease any awkward-ness and allow you to come off as genuine and approachable. Don't hold yourself back from reaching out to someone or asking an acquaintance to put you in contact with a person that could potentially help you out.
Use Your Skills
Figure out what you're good at and own it. By highlighting your skills and accomplishments, you'll be able to use that to your advantage and set you apart from other professionals. For example, if you've just successfully planned and executed an event for your company, explain the steps you went through to make that event go smoothly and why your way was more efficient than the standard protocol.
Nobody likes a debby-downer or someone that's unapproachable. How you present yourself can make or break an opportunity, so make sure you use appropriate body language, smile often and show them that you're listening to what they have to say. By showing someone that you're interested and friendly, you're more likely to leave a lasting impression.
Like I mentioned, showing someone that you're listening to them is so important. That means that you're actually listening and not just pretending to do so. Ask questions about what they're saying and take in any advice they have to give. This can only help you continue your conversation and make that person want to keep in touch with you.
Actually stay connected with that person! If they give you their business card or contact information, follow up with an e-mail about how nice it was to meet them and try to set up another time to get together. This will show them that you'd like to continue the relationship and to be honest, the worst they can say is no! You really have nothing to lose and only good things can happen from there on out!
I hope these tips are helpful for you guys and I'm so grateful that we're here to share this information with one another! If you have any pointers or suggestions (or even horror stories and what not to do) please feel free to share them in the comments below! Happy networking!