Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, the idea of being in a room of strangers to start a conversation can be nerve wrecking. Personal branding is one of the reasons why some colleagues achieve a high level of success in a short period.
Networking is an art that can be achieved by people at any stage of their career. There are many myths that often lead to an unsuccessful experience. We welcome you to learn more about how to get started.
Speak About Personal Interests
Most people think networking is all about telling a person a product, service or talent one can offer. Whether a person is marketing their skills or business, it starts with small talk about a personal topic. If you don’t know the people in the room, look for a reason to approach them. Here are a few things to search for:
- A sweater with a logo of a University: ask the person if they are an alumnus of the university.
- Purse: If you are a woman that sees another woman wearing a purse of your favorite designer, compliment her to start the conversation.
- Automobile: If you are a man that noticed another participant arrived in a nice car, ask the person when they bought their car to create a connection.
It is the brief moments of conversation that can turn small talk into a professional relationship.
Bring Personal Branding Materials
I recommend using a professional leather back to place business cards, an iPad, tangible portfolio or a notepad laptop. At any moment a person can ask for a view of one’s portfolio to make an immediate decision at an event. Ensure personal branding materials appear professional and are up to date. Most importantly, only hand out business cards to people that ask for it. If you hand out business cards to every person you meet, it can end up in the garbage.
Work the Room
It can be comfortable to stay at your dining table for the rest of the evening. If you notice friends at the event after the conversation ends respectfully step away and meet new people in the room.
If you can build the confidence to approach the public speakers on stage, you can learn to add to personal learning speaking with a successful person.
Talk About Your Passions
The first thing that comes out of most people’s mouths when asked “tell me about yourself” is the job, education, or career goals. It is a generic line that most people will use at an event. Instead, think of what you are passionate about. Here are a few topics to mention
- The desire to end world hunger
- A passion for educating youth
- A goal to introduce immigrants to society
Think about the best way to professionally entertain people you are speaking with because at some point people will start to ask what you do for a living.
To summarize our advice on networking, these tips can be used at family, work, or business events. Once you are comfortable with sharing your passions and personal interests, let the other person guide the conversation to your work experience. A connection is the special ingredient while networking that can be achieved with personality and professionalism.