9 Business Networking Tips
As a student or young professional considering a full-time career, there’s nothing more important than networking. Using good business networking tips will allow you to develop strong relationships. Networking can lead to jobs, internships, and further opportunities. The more people you know, the easier it is! Use these 9 business networking tips to build connections and get a job:
1. Don’t be afraid to say hello
When it comes to networking, it doesn’t pay off to be shy. Stopping to say hello is the first step to building a strong professional relationship. You don’t have to be at an official networking event to reach out. There are many places that can be great for networking, if you can work up the courage to introduce yourself.
2. Practice cultural sensitivity
As a global professional or an international intern, you’ll likely spend time networking in many countries, cultures and maybe even languages. Cultural sensitivity is one of the most important business networking tips. Being aware of what is polite and what makes people uncomfortable will go a long way when making new connections. Should you shake hands or bow? How close should you stand? Is it acceptable to ask personal questions? Do a bit of reading beforehand and prepare yourself for networking in a multicultural setting.
3. Connect online
After making a connection in person, it’s important to follow through online. Connecting on LinkedIn is a great way to maintain the connection. Make sure to send a request with a short message, reminding your new contact where and how you met. For this reason, it is also important to keep your professional profiles and pages up to date!
4. Ask questions
When you’re looking to build up a relationship with someone, it’s important to ask questions. Find out more about who they are, what they do, and the trajectory that led them to their current position. Each new contact can be a wealth of information for you.
5. Be proactive
Take advantage of every networking event and professional opportunity that comes your way. Being passive in such instances won’t get you anywhere, particularly when you’re in a busy environment with many other professionals vying for attention. Take it upon yourself to start the conversation, to introduce yourself, and even connect your friends and colleagues.
6. Do your research
Before you head into a professional setting, make sure you are properly prepared. If the event you’re attending has a theme or a topic, make sure you’re ready to discuss it, and to present yourself well within it. Even more importantly, if you have a specific person or organization in mind that you’d like to network with, learn as much about them beforehand as possible. Doing your research well will ensure you have good questions to ask, and that other people know you are at the top of your game!
7. Practice active listening
Asking questions is only half the task. As you get to know fellow professionals, in your field and others, you need to pay close attention to the conversation. Showing that you are paying attention and are listening will not only keep the discussion going, but it will ensure that the other parties enjoy speaking with you. Additionally, when you follow up later via email or LinkedIn, you’ll have specific anecdotes to mention!
8. Know what you have to offer
When going into a networking situation, it’s important to know what you have to offer. Think of everyone as a potential contact, potential future employer, reference or colleague. Knowing your worth and identifying your skills will help drive the conversation, and help you get what you want out of the opportunity.
9. Introduce yourself at the end
Studies have shown that the best time to introduce yourself is at the end of the event. People are more likely to remember you when you’re one of the last conversations they had, rather than the one right at the beginning of the event. Be strategic as you make your way around an event, and don’t feel pressured to make important introductions right away.
Apply now for an internship abroad, and start applying these business networking tips!
All photos courtesy of The Intern Group