The Importance Of Networking

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I was sitting on the gurney at my colonoscopy looking at the other men and women wearing the same plaid gown (tied in the back) I was thinking that this would be a great place to network. Yes, my mind goes into networking mode the minute I enter a room with new people. But for many folks, this is a difficult task and they do not know what to say.

By definition, networking is the action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts. But networking often gets a bad rap.

Some people view networking as having fake conversations or chit chat with a means to an end.

Networking is not a bad word. It is the lifeblood of making connections and learning new things. So if you are one of those people who hates the idea of networking, I am going to help change your belief and create a positive mind shift.

Current Belief: Networking is nerve racking. It is hard for me to make small talk with people I do not know. When I try it, I feel fake and insecure.

Mind shift: Networking can be fun. A room of strangers can provide a great opportunity to make new friends, gain new information, generate business contacts and meet people who share my values and passions. Why wouldn’t I want to do that?

The most important technique in networking is to ask open ended questions that do not allow others to say yes or no. In order to engage in dialogue, you want to encourage people to talk. “How are you today?” is not as effective as, “What is one great thing that happened to you today?” Similarly, “Do you come here often?” Is not as effective as “What do you like about this place?”

Here are some simple questions to help shift your current mindset to a networking mindset when you are at any type of event where you do not know the attendees.

You will be amazed where simple dialogue will take you.

  1. What made you decide to come to this event?
  2. How did you hear about this event?
  3. How long have you been involved in this organization?
  4. What do you do for work?
  5. What do you like most about your job?
  6. Where are you from?
  7. Where was your last vacation?
  8. What is your favorite? App? Restaurant? TV show?
  9. I love that ­­­____. Where did you get it?
  10. What is on your reading list?

And if you really get stuck, you can always say, “What is your favorite question to ask someone at a networking event?” smiley face


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