“Networking” has become a buzzword in the business world. But what does it really mean? Networking is about building relationships that can lead to professional opportunities and personal growth. Whether you're looking for a new job or just trying to expand your circle of contacts, there are plenty of reasons to get started with networking today. Here are five tips for making connections at events:
Networking is a great way to learn more about your industry, your field and the people who work in them. Networking is a great way to learn what's going on in your city or town.
Have goals in mind before you go.
Before you go, you should have some goals in mind. How do you want to use the event? Do you want to make connections or do business? What connections are the most important for your career?
"It's not about what you know but who you know" is an old adage that is still true today. Your goal should be to meet people who can help your career and advance your business. You'll also want to spend most of your time networking with people who have similar interests or businesses so that conversations flow naturally and there's no pressure on either party to conform to someone else’s agenda at the expense of their own goals or needs.
Be a good listener.
Listening is a skill that can be learned. The key to being a good listener is to listen for understanding, not just for an opening to respond. This means listening to the heart of what is being said, and not getting caught up in trying to formulate your own response. It also means listening with your eyes and ears pointed toward the speaker, rather than looking at your phone or daydreaming while they’re talking.
By asking questions and listening intently, you show that you’re interested in what someone is saying—and that makes them feel heard! People remember those who made them feel like they were actually being listened to (as opposed to one-sided chitchat). Good listeners know when someone has finished speaking and they don't interrupt until then.
Do your research: Follow emerging trends in your industry and field, as well as colleagues who are active on social media and other platforms.
If you’re interested in learning more about an industry or field, there’s no shortage of ways for you to do so: attend conferences, read blogs and publications that cover interesting topics, follow industry leaders on social media (and then engage with them), follow colleagues who are active on social media (and then reach out). If you want someone else to know about something that interests you but doesn’t necessarily pertain to work or business—hey! You might find someone else who has similar interests.
Check out LinkedIn's new Events feature to see what's happening in your area, then head online to connect with others who will be attending the same events.
LinkedIn's new Events feature is a great way to find out what's happening in your area and connect with others who will be attending the same events. The platform has partnered with more than 250 event providers, including local organizations like chambers of commerce, nonprofit groups and universities. For example, if you're looking for an opportunity to network with other professionals in your field, you can search LinkedIn's database of events to see if there are any upcoming business-related gatherings near you. If there are some events that look interesting (or even if there aren't), go ahead and click "Attending" on them so that other members know that you'll be present at those particular gatherings.
Building connections requires effort but is rewarding. The most important thing to remember when networking is that it doesn’t have to be difficult or overwhelming. You can start small and build your way up, and there are lots of ways to do so! Hopefully, these tips will help you get started on your journey toward building better connections with others.
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