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Talent & Recruitment
Networking 101
Feb 3, 2010 | Martin Buckland lock

Creating your image, building your presence, and conducting your conversation in an effective and professional way are key elements in successful networking.

First impressions count!

Meeting with a group of strangers can be intimidating and challenging. Initiating a conversation with people already actively involved in conversing with one another can be even worse. Here are some techniques I use effectively when I introduce myself:

  • Be comfortable standing by yourself initially; don’t feel rushed.
  • Get some food and drink.
  • Observe, watch for signs that a conversation is lagging in momentum. Look for eye contact; one person in the group might either recognize you or want to leave. You could be the candidate to fill the void.
  • If the group are locked with good eye contact and positive body language, then step away from their immediate vision and look around for new opportunities.
  • If you are keen to join this particular group because you want to meet with a specific person, wait at a distance without showing signs of hovering. Watch for signs of the conversation changing and waning. 
  • Often, someone else will join you. If this occurs, share with them your intentions, elicit their support and take them into the group with you. Once the intensity of the conversation has changed walk into the group and professionally introduce yourself with a firm handshake and look directly into the eyes of the person you are connecting with.
  • Show interest in others. This is what makes networking so beneficial and powerful. Even if others don’t express an interest in you, ask questions, appear to be excited about their lives, and what they are looking for. You never know who they know or who can be influential in assisting you with a name that can open doors to a potential new career or position.
  • Do not change the tone or steal the conversation from another person.
  • If you are anxious to meet a particular person, say so. “I’ve been keen to meet you for sometime, but, I can see you are busy right now. May I give you my business card? May I have yours? I’ll connect with you next week for a chat.”
  • Normally, I only exchange business cards with others if I am asked or have a strong connection with someone.
  • Finally, the bottom line for me is to have fun, listen, learn, and share something useful.

There is a saying: “What goes around, comes around!” How true.

About the Author:

Martin Buckland is a Professional Career Management Expert with offices in the U.S. and Canada. President of Elite Résumés, he is certified in résumé writing, executive & career coaching, job search strategies, personal branding and interview coaching. He has extensive knowledge of the best strategies to secure a job most effectively and is well networked with recruiters and human resource professionals across North America.

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