Professional networking is really essential, not only for fresh job seekers, but also for experienced professionals. This is because, it may not only help you in your hard job search process, but may also provide adequate support for your career growth.
How to Network With Strangers?
This does not imply that you stick only to online networking tools such as LinkedIn!
It is true that online networking is an excellent, effective and reasonable way to market yourself, but it is also a fact that you can meet a valuable opportunity at any time and at any place.
So, if you really wish to make the most of that unforeseen opportunity, and want it to get converted to a brilliant career move, then here are some easy and fruitful steps, which you can follow in order to turn any stranger into a network contact.
1. Identify your contacts:
A professionally effective network is one that consist a wide variety of experts. In such situation, how will you decide that to whom you should add to your list?
The answer to this question is simple, here you need to rely more on your ‘feel’, than on ‘logic’.
People who are passionate and active in their field and seem interested to talk to you can be considered to be included in your networking list.
2. Appear Approachable:
Most of the times, professionals are seen engaged with their phone. Since, body language showcases the volume, so this indirectly is sending message to others that they are simply not interested in a new communication.
So, stay active and alert, and smile to others to make them believe that you really want to have a conversation.
3. Begin with a ‘Hi’ or ‘Hello’:
A quick ‘hello’ might seem simple, but in reality it can be very much helpful to break the ice.
So, whenever you meet a new person, smiling at you, then you can make an eye contact and say ‘hi’. If he is also interested in building the network, then he will come directly to you.
4. Assume the person on the other side is shy:
Most of the times, people avoid starting a new communication as they are worried of how they appear, or how the other person will react.
But the reality is that, even individual on the other side of the door is also feeling the same thing.
Moreover, everyone at present doesn’t have enough time to think about others, as they are more concerned about their own personalities. So, don’t let shyness come in between your ladder of networking.
5. Try finding some common points:
Try exploring and communicating little bit on points that are common to both, you and the stranger. This will help in smoothly moving the communication from score 0 -10.
6. Be attentive and listen properly:
A well verse communication is not only about saying. You also have to listen what the others want to say. So, be courteous to listen what the others want to say and pay complete attention towards it.
7. Decide moving to the next step or not:
If you think or feel, that the other person seems disinterested in talking more, and then it’s time to exchange the business cards and end the conversation. Try ending the communication on a polite note.
8. Manage contacts efficiently:
This is a very important step for converting strangers into networking ally.
If you meet a proficient contact at any busy place, like a conference or meeting, then it is required that you jot down on the back of their visiting card, their vital details, where you met them and what you discussed with them in brief.
So, next time when you will manage contacts in your digital file, then your task will become easier and uncomplicated.
9. Provide Value:
If you want your communication to be really effective, then you must not only ask for your own benefit. You can also offer value to the other person.
For instance, you can ask for, what he is working on and provide solutions for problems that he is meeting. This will also impress the stranger and convince him a little more to offer value as and when you may need.
10. Keep in Touch:
If you let new bonding lapse, then all your efforts levied on beginning a communication, keeping record of it and courting it will be completely wasted.
You need to stay involved and act participatory if you wish to gain benefits from your networking channels.
So, stay in touch with your new contact by sending a warm email, now and then, or by updating your blogs or by commenting on people on your network.
11. Remember that you are talking to people for information and not for a job:
Networking end up on a bad note, mainly because people start asking for a job from their friends. This puts others in an awkward situation, especially when they don’t have enough opportunities with them.
So, if you want people to stay comfortable while talking to you, then it is wise to communicate for exchange of information.
If he is interested in offering you an opportunity, then he will do so by his own.
12. Be prepared for what you wish to say:
When you wish to communicate with a stranger then make sure you stay clear of what you want to say. But, there is no need to get obsessed with it. State clearly why you contact them (for information) and ask few questions related to the area of your expertise.
13. Remember that everyone goes through both good and bad days:
Individuals won’t respond to your requests, messages or chats. Few experiences like these may make you fear of reaching out to other new contacts. But, don’t just give up!
Being patient and persistence will help you achieve success one day.
14. Outline a brief about topic for discussion:
If you have a brief idea about the stranger that you will be meeting, like in a conference or meeting, then it is intelligent of you to research some more things about him.
You can research for his background, expertise and present employment status, as this will help you to outline the different topics for discussions.
15. Show gratification for contact support:
If your contact is able to provide you with a job, or refers you to another contact of use, and then don’t forget to show some gratification.
He will admire this, and may be provide you with more opportunities in future period.
16. Don’t expect the outcome:
This is another very crucial step, if you want to continue communicating with strangers. It is better to don’t outline any expectations, especially the result.
It may happen, that something different may happen than you have perceived. So, better is not to expect anything in prior.
Smiling is very much important, especially when you are trying to build strong networks with a stranger. This is because smile shows that you are interested in talking to the person, and also you are listening to what they are saying.
Lastly, don’t forget to practice for this concern. Practice will help you improve so that you are confident while you talk to others. You can practice in front of the mirror and treat it like any other skill.
Make sure you stay concise with your requests so that you don’t pester others. Communicate in a way so that you can impress others and even in case one is not able to help you, then still be thankful to him, as he took out time to talk to you.
So, follow these steps carefully and move on to building a network that is not only big but also professionally beneficiary.