So many times, we meet people who seem like natural connectors. They're the ones who everybody attracts to in the room. It looks like meeting and communicating comes so easy to them. In truth, there's some simple tactics great networkers use to separate themselves from the pack. Even if you are the shyest, most awkward person in the room, doing a few small maneuvers will go a long way. Here are 3 simple moves you can use to become a master networker. Use these to grow your network and take advantage of your next cocktail party.
1. Go In For The Handshake First
We've all had those times when a person sits at our table or takes the seat next to us. They look at us, we look at them, and then we both smile and go back to what we're doing. In that time, both people are thinking if they should introduce themselves. Sometimes it happens, and sometimes it does not. What you don't realize is that people around you are also watching this exchange. They are seeing what kind of person you are, and if you're open to networking.
The tactic you want to use here is to always be first to reach out your hand, say hello, and introduce yourself. When you're the first to do that, people around you will assume you're a good connector. Being the first to shake hands shows confidence, and makes you seem much more approachable. You'll also increase the number of people that you'll develop relationships with. Some people are too shy to make the first move and put out their hand, but they secretly do want to get to know you. By always making sure you introduce yourself first, you'll make it easier for introverts to get to know you.
2. Look to help as soon as possible
Once you introduce yourself and find out more about the person, start thinking about people you can connect them with. It doesn't matter how important your connection is, all that matters is that it might be helpful. When you do this, you show the person you're speaking with that you're willing to help. This will allow them to put their guard down, and probably look to a way to reciprocate the favor. An important part in this step is that you follow through on the promise of the introduction. Most people say they'll help connect you, and then don't follow through. Make sure you write down all the promises you made to people while networking. Once they see you actually kept your word, your reputation will go way up in their eyes.
3. Reach for the business card early
Whenever you're networking, you want to make sure that you get contact information to follow up. The best way to do this is to hand out your business card early. It's a common understanding that once you get a business card you return the favor. This is a great way to ensure that if your conversation gets interrupted, you can keep developing the relationship. It also shows a great deal when you are the one to start the exchange. Again, it'll make you seem more open, and overtime will lead to an impressive Rolodex. One way to ensure that business cards are exchanged is to hand over the card right after an introduction. In networking, it pays off to be the one who leads the engagement. No matter how bad you think you are, when you're not scared to make the first moves, you'll look like a pro.