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8 Tips to Improve Your Networking Skills

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Networking can be overwhelming and downright stressful. Approaching industry professionals with hopes of making a connection or talking about job opportunities takes courage. But when done right, networking can offer you many benefits in both your personal and professional life. Want to gain confidence in your networking skills? Here are some tips to try out at your next event.

1. Be Yourself 

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It’s always important to be the real you. When networking, one of the main goals is to make connections and build relationships so it’s necessary to show who you truly are. Don’t imitate someone else, or be the person you assume companies will want to hire; they will be able to see right through it. You want to show off your true personality and skills, because that is what will make you unique and make you stand out to others.

2. Follow Up 

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What’s the point of networking if you never stay in touch with the people you meet? The relationships you build can turn into great career opportunities. If you engaged in a powerful conversation with someone, ask what’s the best way to stay in touch? Follow up with them within 48 hours after meeting to continue your conversation, express interest in an opportunity and grow your connections. Ask for a business card and follow up through email, phone or social media.

3. Listen In and Ask Questions

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When talking to someone, don’t take full control of the conversation. While it’s good to be confident and aggressive in building connections, you don’t want to be the only one talking; make sure to listen too. Listening will help you get to know the other person better and share responses that build a strong conversation. Ask questions that you are actually interested in and want an answer to. It can also help show your interest.

4. Express Your Passion and Best Skills

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Your passion and skills make you unique in the career field and sets you apart from other candidates. So when you’re networking, it’s very important to talk about your passion, whether it be journalism, marketing, travel, etc. And when you combine your passion with your skills, that can make you even more unique. Expressing your passion and skills while networking will make you memorable.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Approach Others

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Yes, it can be intimidating to approach someone at a networking event. But it’s important to not wander alone or stick close to the walls without talking to anyone. Don’t wait for someone to approach you. A conversation can begin with something as simple as “How did you find this event?” or “Can you tell me about the company you work for?” You never know what opportunities a few simple words could bring you to!

6. Don’t Stick to What you Know

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Just because you come from one specific career field doesn’t mean you can only stick to that one at networking events. Networking events bring together people from a variety of industries, so take advantage of it. Talk with people from different industries to grow your connections and be more valuable to your specific career field.

7. Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin

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When networking, it’s definitely quality over quantity. Hundreds of brilliant business women and men are at some networking events, but you don’t need to talk to every single one. It’s not about how many business cards you hand out. Focus on meaningful conversations that people will remember you by. A few strong connections are way better than getting business cards from hundreds of companies.

8. Attend a Networking Event

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There are so many networking and business events out there that women can attend to learn about growing their careers and opportunities! One event coming up in October is the No Glass Ceiling Women’s Conference. The conference is taking place in Las Vegas from October 9-11. The No Glass Ceiling Women’s Conference is an opportunity to network and connect with powerful businesswomen and entrepreneurs, learn how to grow your company and smash the glass ceiling for women in the workplace. It’s a great chance to test out these networking tips and build connections too.

Did we miss anything? Share your favorite networking tips in the comments below!

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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