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CONNECT, LIKE YOU MEAN IT (EVEN IF YOU HATE THE IDEA OF NETWORKING)!

When someone says “Get out there and network!” does it make you want to go inside and hide? Does the very thought of networking bring to mind a used car salesman? Take the work out of networking and make meaningful connections by using these simple tips:

1. Most Anything Great You Will Ever Do Will Involve At Least One Other Person!

• Think of networking as a way of going through life, opening doors and inviting people in
• Don’t psych yourself out by feeling that you need to “sell” yourself when networking
• Be genuinely  “in service” to others

2. Focus On 3 Basic Elements To Build Your Networking Success:
• Find new opportunities to connect
• Attract connections
• Create and build relationships

3. To Find Opportunities to Connect:
• Try out a variety of events; volunteer groups, your parent’s social events, fundraising, charities, etc.
• Do something you care about, when you’re passionate about a cause you are more likely to connect
• Nervous? Find someone in the room you’d like to get to know-focus on asking them questions about themselves

4. To Attract Connections:
• Create positive perception (smile, eye contact, dress appropriately, social skills, positive attitude)
• Have passion and energy (if you don’t feel well and can’t disguise it, you’re better to skip meeting new people)
• Form emotional connections (twice as important as IQ and technical skills combined)

5. To Create Emotional Connections:
• Don’t “hit and run,” pick a few people and take time to connect
• Forget about being fake, phony, or schmoozy (big turn-off)
• Be likable (ask about their interests, avoid gossip, use G-rated humor, no self-pity)

6. While Attending the Event, Remember:
• No more than 1 alcoholic drink (or mix wine with seltzer or skip it altogether) – that’s not why you’re there
• No food stacking or hoarding (no stuffing food in your purse or pockets-you don’t want to appear desperate)
• Avoid sticky and messy food (chicken wings, cupcakes, spare ribs, sub sandwiches)
• No finger licking, lip smacking, nose blowing, coughing without covering your mouth, etc.
• If you are offered the soda can with your glass of soda, politely decline (keep your hands free)
• When handling finger foods (coconut shrimp, carrot sticks, etc.) use the hand that you don’t use to shake hands
• Always shake hands, repeat their name, smile, wear your name tag (right side)
• Dress appropriately for the event
• Focus on building relationships!

7. To Establish Relationships:
• Don’t psych yourself out by thinking you know what people are thinking about you (just focus on them)
• Aim to give more than you get
• Be confident, avoid arrogance, and be consistent in your interactions

8. To Build Relationships:
• Follow up with a personalized email within 12 -24 hours (maybe offer an article, tip or introduction to someone else
that may be helpful to them)
• Thank the person who introduced you to your new contact
• Send a hand written note or email quarterly (stay in touch)

Most importantly, think about what makes you interesting, of value, and likable. When you offer your friendship and value to others, you will Connect, Like You Mean It (even if you hate the idea of networking)!™

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©2014 Actualize Consulting Group/Lisa Broesch. All rights reserved internationally. Permission granted to excerpt or reprint with attribution and notification.