Since starting my blog four years ago, I have met some pretty incredible people. Often, I get a lot of questions on networking and how to spark up a connection in a potentially unfamiliar setting. I thought I might lend my two cents in this regard. Disclaimer: these tips could be subjective and/or just what has worked for me, however I think they might be helpful!
1. The firm handshake: Commonly a tip for very professional settings, I always make sure to give a nice, meaningful handshake. This can be the very first impression on your future employer or investor and you want them to know you are confident!
2. EYE CONTACT: Simply put, pay attention. Engage them while you are speaking by holding their gaze. On the other side, listen to them and make sure you are looking at them to show your particular interest. The worst is having a conversation with someone who can't make eye contact... talk about awkward!
3. Ask questions!!!! This is really where you find out what you might have in common! Ask about not just their professional life, but their personal life too. "Where did you go to school?" "Do you have siblings?" "Any hobbies?" are all examples that might lead to a common denominator and therefore build a connection!
4. Talk about what you know. Don't try to impress by speaking on things you aren't well versed in. If you know some spanish, don't say you are fluent. It's so important to be transparent and authentic! This goes for anything, really.
5. No swearing. Talk as if your mother is there. Regardless whether or not you are seeking out a job or simply just looking to build on your social circle, keep it PG and classy. Hold yourself upright and be mindful of what you are saying.
6. Try to have contact info on hand. If you are in any sort of field that could lend skills to someone else, try and have business cards made up! It doesn't have to be a super elaborate design, it could be as simple as your name, email and a little line about what you do. I'll never forget going to an event when I first started blogging and my face turning beat red when someone asked if I had a card. If you want to really forge a connection and build your network, this is IMPERATIVE!
7. Be Yourself. This is the most important one. The number one mistake you can make in the effort of networking is pretending to be someone you are not. Be who you are and talk about the things you love, that inspire you. No matter what career field people are in, seeing someone else's passion is contagious and athenticity is priceless!
Networking shouldn't be scary, but practice can make perfect! I hope these tips are helpful!!