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Well, being famous, it goes without saying, is an automatic people magnet. But if you were, you likely wouldn’t be reading this so we’ll move on to more practical solutions, here.
While I’d love to share some hacks with you, I think it’d be more helpful if I point out a few things that could actually help you. If you’re looking for hacks, you’re missing the point of networking events. If you want to see success in networking, you need to change your approach, assuming you’ve struggled in the past.
I’m going to share with you some things that helped me change my approach to networking and, subsequently, my success with them.
1. Smile a lot, and be a positive person. Having a good sense of humor never hurts, either.
2. Be confident, don’t shy away from the middle of the room. It’s pretty common knowledge that “confidence is king”. Don’t be afraid to be at the center of the action. As a matter of fact, don’t be afraid, period. People like confident people.
You like confident people. So it stands to reason, so does everyone else.
3. Always listen attentively, and don’t feel the need to be the loudest voice in the room.There’s an old saying “barking dogs seldom bite“. Loosely interpreted, it means if you’re talking about yourself too much, it likely means you’re all talk, no action. And smart people, the people who would otherwise be great connections, will naturally pick up on this.
4. Don’t speak excessively about your perceived strengths. We tend to feel like everyone knows everything about us, about our weaknesses in particular, so if we talk excessively about them as if they were our strengths, we are somehow protecting ourselves. Smart people know you are merely covering up for your weaknesses. Don’t worry, they won’t exploit you. As a matter of fact, they will likely do something much worse.
They’ll ignore you. And worse still, they’ll be too polite to point any of this out to you.
If you spend 20 minutes speaking nonstop about honesty and integrity, for example, I’m going to make a mental note that you likely do not possess these traits. I won’t tell you so. I will silently hope you find your way and I will, subsequently, move on to someone else.
5. Don’t think for a moment that name-dropping is escalating your value. If you need someone else’s light to put you in the spotlight, you are only dimming yourself in the eyes of others. Using someone else’s accomplishments to give yourself credibility, or to bolster your value is not how you effectively build credibility. The way you build credibility is to develop a good reputation.
Be the person others are talking about.
6. A good reputation comes, primarily, through your own accomplishments. And your ability to help and connect others.
There’s an old proverb that translates loosely to, “the tree heavy with fruit doesn’t stand out, it leans over”. I think this is appropriate to mention, here, because I believe the best thing you can do in any social situation is to own your own accomplishments, no matter how small.
And let your knowledge do the talking. You won’t make a lot of noise or turn a lot of heads, but you don’t need to be the loudest voice in the room to have reach. It doesn’t add value to amplify your voice or borrow someone else’s light. It makes you look like a fool.
7. If you don’t know the answer to someone’s question, direct them to someone who does. Even a small gesture like that can go a long way. “I don’t know”, while a valid answer, simply won’t help your cause if you’re trying to be a value-add. Who knows who you will connect? Could be exactly the connection they were hoping to make tonight. Who made that happen?
8. Leave your ego at the door. This isn’t your coming out party. It’s an opportunity to enrich and add value to others’ lives. The rest will take care of itself.
If you’re still looking for hacks, consider some technology to help you find proper connections.
Or to help them find you.
At Swapp, we are currently developing an in-app feature that utilizes A.I. technology to provide the answers to which networking events to go to, with whom to connect and when, based on your personal and professional goals. Instead of wandering around for three hours looking for the right people, wouldn’t it be nice to know precisely who, when and where? Think about the time that would be saved.
Swapp provides the tools and attributes of good, effective networkers, all bundled in one convenient location.
Thanks for reading, and best of luck to you!