Proven steps to help you network freely and successfully

Women networking

Starting and sustaining a conversation with familiar people is usually easier than doing the same with strangers. Certainly, not everyone finds it easy to even start a conversation with known people not to talk of unfamiliar ones. But it is indeed benefiting to those who know how to go about it. Asides, the opportunity it affords to share opinions, feelings, ideas, and experiences, there is a whole lot that good networking can bring to a person.

As a businesswoman, starting a conversation with strangers should be your forte, you know, something you do with ease and perfection. And it should not come as a sudden realization whenever you find yourself the opportunity to do so, it should be a spontaneous affair. In this article, we’ll share a few proven steps to help you network freely and successfully. Let’s get to it.

Start with a handshake:

You may want to offer a hand when you first meet the person. Handshakes are a form of non-verbal communication that says things like “I am pleased to meet you”. Don’t get it wrong, if your handshake implies that then your countenance shouldn’t say otherwise. They both work together. Losing the battle on one end is as good as losing the war. So make sure they are in sync and you’re good to go. Don’t get a false impression that a hug would be a better idea because it won’t. We are talking about a stranger remember? And since that is the case, you are a stranger too. Besides, this is a professional relationship, not a personal or you-know-what kind of relationship. So a simple handshake will do. Don’t squeeze and don’t hold on for too long.

Hone your public speaking skills:

Nothing can easily kill a conversation than little or no knowledge of public speaking skills. Now that you’ve had a warm handshake, what next? You certainly don’t want to appear confused and stare at everything but the person. You’d want to take control, here’s how: focus on the person and don’t be distracted; be audible enough so that comprehension can be ensured; make use of non-verbal communication techniques to aid your discourse. For example, use gestures, vocal inflections, facial expressions, mannerisms etc, to your advantage. Also, be sensitive; if you notice that the current discourse is making you lose the audience, make a switch. It would help tremendously if you talk about what he or she likes, is interested in and not what you like. Make them feel special and at home, trust me, they’ll love you more.

Win the name game:

There is one thing that people are really proud of, one thing that makes them unique, one thing that aptly captures their identity, one thing that has to be their name. Remember people’s names and remain in their good book, forget constantly and send the message “you are not that important to me.” Remembering names of people makes them feel special, recognized, and relevant. And they reward those who do remember, maybe not consciously but it does happen. They become more receptive to you and what you have to say, so it won’t take a lot to sell your business and get a prospective customer. If you are wont for forgetting names, get a diary and write down names and other details as the case may be. That way, you can always enlighten yourself every now and then.

Give a sincere compliment:

Don’t tell her she looks good if she doesn’t. Don’t tell him the suit is fitted if it is not. Contrary to your thinking that speaking the ugly truth could chase the person away, there is a higher chance it will get them to trust your opinion. The thing is if you’re going to say it is not good then be prepared to share what could be better. Start your relationship with this person on the right footing by telling the truth – which would not only set you free but open you to a world of benefits. So after the handshake, recognize something he or she is wearing and compliment sincerely. It might even be the person’s accent that sounds really nice or even their gait, whatever the case, be genuine in your appraisal.

Share opportunities:

Everybody is looking to make a headway in life so don’t think you are alone on this quest. In light of that, it would be a great idea to share opportunities with the person. You’d know which opportunity would interest them as one of your aims should be to know their interests. For instance, if you’re talking to a single mom who is having a hard time playing mom and dad at the same time, telling her about an NGO that supports women like this would be on point. If the person is into music and looking to get a job, share a few ideas if you have. In doing this, they know you have their best interest at heart and it’s not all about what you intend to achieve with them.

Tell a story:

Stories are vivid, teach indelible life lessons and could be motivating. Most of the greatest public speakers in the world tell stories because they work wonders. Sometimes it is easier to understand a concept in a story form than in any other format. The stories referred to here could be fictional or non-fictional depending on what you intend to achieve. If it is fictional, make it plausible and true to life; no reasonable adult would opt for a fantastical treat. And if it is not fiction, make sure you’ve got facts and not unfounded assertions.

In general, starting a conversation with a stranger at a networking event is not as difficult as you thought it to be. Adhering to the above tips would help a great deal.

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