Meeting new people can be tough. It helps to be naturally outgoing and friendly, but of course not everyone is. Networking is a skill that becomes easier with practice, and it’s something everyone can do. Here are 5 tips to try when you are building your network:
1. Networking is about building relationships: it’s not just about how the other person can help you, but what you can do for them. Don’t start the conversation by requesting help or talking about your needs – listen to what they have to say.
2. Don’t think of anyone as irrelevant – everyone has a skill, experience or connection that could be meaningful to you. Networking does not have to be with senior people in your industry, connect with a range of people.
3. Volunteering at events or on a committee is a great way to grow your network.
4. Be genuine. Don’t be stressed about the perfect thing to say, relax and understand that the primary goal is simply to make a connection. Be friendly and helpful: find a common interest and recommend a book, movie, music or restaurant they might enjoy.
5. Start with people you know. This is especially helpful if you are not comfortable making conversation with strangers. Networking with people you know will build confidence and they can introduce you to others.
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