If you’re trying to break into the communications industry, or really any industry, I’m sure the word networking has been thrown around more times than you can count. Networking is vital, meeting people of the same caliber, with the same passion for the things you love, can be the stepping stone to the next step in life that you never knew you needed.
Despite its importance, networking has become, well a bit dull. Between tongue-tied circles of awkward small talk and longer silences, it can be hard to jump into a networking event if you’re unsure of how to network at all. Sometimes subtlety can be key.
Keep the following three non-obvious ways to network in mind when you head to Hustle Summit, the networking event for people who hate networking events, on Friday, July 17th.
1. Listen actively.
This might seem silly, but networking really is all about listening to the person you’re talking to. Too often, people get bogged down in how they will reply, or what they can say next to keep the conversation going.
If you’re really listening, chances are you won’t have to think so hard about a response because it will come naturally. Maintaining eye contact and an open posture throughout the conversation indicates that you’re listening as well, and you’re ready to learn about what the person has to say.
2. Get to know people for who they are, not what they can do.
A friend recently gave me this piece of advice and it stuck with me. If you’re attending a networking event, those hosting it, and attending it, understand that you’re looking for a job, internship or connections.
Don’t immediately hand recruiters a resume or business card. Instead, really get to know them. Instead of asking them about their job, ask about their hobbies or what gets them out of bed in the morning. At the end of the day we’re all people and our own person.
Often, people define others by their career or future aspirations, when that is only one small part of what makes someone successful and happy. When meeting someone new, make a goal of simply having a good conversation, the rest should fall right into place.
3. Be yourself.
Recruiters want to get to know you, the actual real you. Make connections based on similar passions, experiences and aspirations. Tell recruiters and fellow networkers about your hobbies, the things you love and maybe even the things you don’t love.
The most important thing to remember is to be the best version of yourself, whoever that may be. Don’t think too much into a conversation, and if one doesn’t go as well as you had hoped, get out there and make the next one better. The beauty of being you is that no one can tell you how to do it, and you’re the only one that has to be in control.
From your experience, what do you think is the best way to non-obviously network? Let us know in the comments below!