9 Simple Tips for Successful and Painless Networking

Networking can make or break your career, but many of us fear the very thought of pressing flesh and “working a room.”

Fortunately, networking doesn’t have to be like that. Like any other social skill, networking has some unwritten rules. Learn this road map, and networking can become surprisingly easy.

So just how do you successfully network? These nine tips will help:

1. Relax

rawpixel / Shutterstock.com
rawpixel / Shutterstock.com

Networking is nothing more than meeting people at any gathering. Pros recommend that you think of each person you meet as a friend of a friend. Walk up, introduce yourself by name, and briefly tell what you do. When the person shares his or her name, you have the start of a conversation.

2. Stop talking

Minerva Studio / Shutterstock.com
Minerva Studio / Shutterstock.com

Yes, you want to hold up your end of the conversation, but don’t overdo it. Many newbie networkers are so eager to share their stories that they deliver a monologue. The person you meet isn’t your biographer. Don’t share your life story. You are looking to connect, not close a deal.

3. Listen

CREATISTA / Shutterstock.com
CREATISTA / Shutterstock.com

Make it a rule to listen more than you talk. And don’t look over the person’s shoulder for other people to meet. Concentrate on what the person says, ask questions and engage.

4. Keep in contact

Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

Don’t overwhelm those you enjoy meeting. Instead, make polite conversation, then move on. Try to remember what you’ve learned about someone — such as his or her interests — and follow up once or twice during the year.

5. Think of contacts as people, not connections

chanpipat / Shutterstock.com
chanpipat / Shutterstock.com

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking about what contacts can do for YOU instead of how you might help them. But even successful people can use help at various times. If you can help, do so.

6. Make your requests specific

Pressmaster / Shutterstock.com
Pressmaster / Shutterstock.com

If you’re asking a new acquaintance for something, make sure your request is specific and something he or she can deliver on. Don’t ask someone to keep you in mind if any positions open up — face it, they’re too busy to keep you in mind. Instead, ask if you can contact them in a month — after the holidays, or in the new fiscal year — to see whether anything new has cropped up.

If you have a specific goal in mind, simply ask: “Whom do you think I should I talk to?” People typically feel good about making an introduction.

7. Don’t drop the ball on referrals

leungchopan / Shutterstock.com
leungchopan / Shutterstock.com

One major networking mistake is to take contact information and not follow up. Thank the person, take the recommended action and tell your contact what transpired — or at least explain why you didn’t take action.

8. Take notes

Evgeny Karandaev / Shutterstock.com
Evgeny Karandaev / Shutterstock.com

Soon after you meet a new contact, put a few helpful notes on the back of their business card. What industry is the contact in? What did you discuss? Did you promise to send something or otherwise follow up?

9. Show gratitude, and be specific

Kunal Mehta / Shutterstock.com
Kunal Mehta / Shutterstock.com

If you have coffee with someone or even pick their brain during a networking session, thank him or her. Show gratitude to those who share their time and expertise by sending a quick email. If possible, share how his or her advice helped you — maybe you got a job or won a contract as a result, or maybe you simply came to understand the marketplace better.

What have you learned about successful networking over the years? Share your thoughts in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Read Next

7 Social Security Blunders That Can Ruin Your Retirement
7 Social Security Blunders That Can Ruin Your Retirement

Making even one of these mistakes can easily cost you tens of thousands of dollars.

How to Start Investing in Real Estate With as Little as $500
How to Start Investing in Real Estate With as Little as $500

If you would like to diversify your portfolio by investing in real estate but don’t have the cash to buy property, you should know about this option.

13 Small Gadgets Under $20 That Make Life Better
13 Small Gadgets Under $20 That Make Life Better

These inexpensive electronics will make your day-to-day life a little easier — and happier.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Comments

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.

Trending Stories

How to Stream Movies and TV Shows for Free

How to Stream Movies and TV Shows for Free

These free streaming services offer thousands of movies and TV shows — including recent releases and beloved classics — in pretty much every genre there is.