Una's Blog

09
Oct

60 Networking tips – getting started

graphic-4by Una Hearne

Going to an event with the intention of meeting and talking to new people. It’s like a lot of other experiences – new job, new city, new school, new business, – situations where we need to meet new people and make connections. For some people this is extreme fun and for others a big scary nightmare. Most of us land somewhere in between.

One of the reasons it is scary is because there are two fundamental drivers for human beings 1) The fear of rejection 2) The need for acceptance. So if you are in a situation where you are meeting new people, and it matters to you how you get on,  your primal instincts are on alert for whether you are being accepted or rejected. Your internal dialogue (even if you are unaware of it) might be repeating things like ‘What if they don’t like me? I hope they like me. I need to be cool and friendly and interesting and make them laugh and … omg what if I make an ass of myself?’

Sound familiar? Well here’s a thought, what if you turned this around and focused on giving them what you most want, first. What if you decided ‘I will accept each person I meet, no matter who they are, and I’ll be interested in having a conversation to find out what they are like. Then I’ll decide if I want any further contact with them.’ What difference do you think it would make to your behaviour and people’s response to you, if this were how you think going in?

So you have a good attitude to start, getting talking to people is the next step, and many of us find this difficult. What do you say to get a conversation going? The best thing is something relevant and topical. I don’t mean something in the news today, I mean relevant to the event you are at or situation you are in. Start here and now. Why are you here? What are you hoping to get out of this? Who do you know here? Where did you hear about this? etc. I’m not suggesting you walk up to someone and start waffling on about yourself, I’m suggesting you ask them some of these questions, small talk. Safe entry into a conversation. Get them talking about themselves. Tell them about yourself when they ask. See where the conversation goes from there.

You won’t like everyone you meet and not everyone you meet will like you. Not that you will necessarily dislike them, but you can’t connect and keep in contact with large numbers of people. Meeting larger numbers will allow you to connect with the ones who will make your life better. The rest are just ships passing. We can have lovely, helpful, even profound meetings and never see the other person again. And that’s all ok. Don’t worry about the ones that don’t stick around, focus on the ones you want to spend more time with and who want to spend more time with you.

Make networking something you enjoy, do it your way and it will make the rest of your life more successful and at the same time more interesting and fun.

 

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