By Kanarian Kindred
While on our journey to love and to be loved, we must still dedicate adequate time and attention to our career advancement. After all, our achievements in all realms of our lives help to improve our self-esteem and confidence.
But, it is becoming more and more apparent that reaching our goals is contingent on our ability to make lasting connections with individuals who can help promote our growth. It’s NETWORKING, and it’s necessary if we are looking to open new doors for ourselves. For those of you out of the loop when it comes to networking do not be afraid. It’s never too late to learn and get yourself in the mix. Though the networking can be scary at times, we must keep in mind that we all have the ability to conquer the scene. Networking merely requires for us to apply skills of engagement that we already possess.
However, if the thought of incorporating matters of career with social encounters is entirely to intimidating for you, EGL has some pointers that may help.
Remember these points at your next networking event.
-Have a willingness to connect with others outside your circle. This means that you must reach out to people with whom you wouldn’t ordinarily interact. The perfect way of doing this would be to join a local meet-up group or volunteer organization. Though members are offering their services and valuable time for free, a lot of them are part of the corporate sector. Frankly stated, individuals within organizations you normally wouldn’t gain access to. Therefore, not only is being a part of various organizations and/or groups a great way of giving back, you also meet new friends. This will allow you to broaden your horizons and it just might spark interests that you never knew you had. Also, the invitation to that door to the golden stairs of opportunity may be within that new social circle.
-When meeting potential prospects, always greet them with a firm handshake and eye contact. This has been advice given to men in the past, but now that women are as prominent in the business world as men, we need to portray strength as well. Demonstrate confidence and impress them with calculated and distinct flares of humor alternating with mentions of your ideas for business growth. The following quote from Everyday Psychology sums it up best, “Does handshake matter? It’s not just just common sense. The research shows that the handshake matters. It does in fact contribute to “first impressions.” It is not an entirely bogus way for people to judge you: your handshake actually reflects certain personality characteristics. And the research shows that when it comes to self-promotion, handshake etiquette may be more important for women than for men.”
-Take the time to demonstrate a genuine interest in the person’s life when holding conversations. This factor opens the door for them to warm up to you, as well as demonstrate an interest in your work. Thereby, creating a rapport that can motivate them to get to know you on a professional level, and potentially want to invest in your future. But be careful that you don’t become too transparent as to cross lines from professional to personal. In other words, this isn’t an old friend from college or church member we haven’t seen in a long time. These are individuals that have no clue who we are, and an unprofessional first impression can sink an otherwise blossoming connection. Therefore, keep it professional at all times regardless of the topic being discussed. Most importantly, we must understand that networking isn’t about collecting the most business cards. It’s about planting a seed for growth within each person you meet. These tips won’t carry you the entire way, but they can lay the groundwork for a progressive start.
Be courageous! If you love what you do and you have a passion, then market yourself and enlist the support of others.