How To Improve Your Networking Skills

Going to a party or mixer where you don’t know anyone is very daunting. Good hosts and hostesses know how to get their guests to talk to each other after the introduction. Instead of just providing names, they give a positive tidbit of information about each person.

For example, “Diane, meet Adam. Adam, this is Diane. Diane teaches high school and started a community garden. Adam just got back from a trip to Japan.” This gives some information on which to build a conversation.

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How To Improve Your Networking Skills

You are probably wondering how this translates into business situations

When you attend a conference or other business event, you can use this technique to introduce colleagues. Help others network, even if you aren’t the host/hostess, because there traditionally won’t be a one that will instigate introductions. But you may find yourself in a similar situation, where you have no information on which to build a conversation.

Because networking is so important, it’s vital to make a good impression on those you meet in a professional setting. Here’s what I recommend as the secret sauce to being remembered and getting to know people.

Remember the 5-second soundbite rule

When you introduce yourself, have a five-second soundbite about yourself to offer. The trick is to make it interesting and relevant, while not sounding like you’re bragging. Think about how a host would introduce you to someone else.

I have to admit, it might seem awkward at first. I spent a lot of time thinking about this for myself. “I’m Dawn. I’m a staff writer for the American Genius, and I love to golf. I’m not good at it, but I enjoy it.” Even if the other person just gives their name in return, it gives you an opening to ask about their hobbies.

Even if you don’t find any common ground, people generally love to talk about what they enjoy, and you put them at ease in an awkward situation. And don’t forget to get their business card before they leave. Make notes on the back of the card about who they are to help you remember them.

Should you ever need to contact them again, you have an opening from your conversation. It opens the door to future communication. Remember the old saying, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Get to know people on a different level when you introduce yourself.

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