Tag Archives: Network

Conversation Tips for Networking Events

I think one of the hardest things about networking events is just getting a conversation going with someone – without being awkward about it.

Approaching someone new can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be.

So, what are some natural and easy ways to break the ice? Here are some tips and tricks:

Go Fishing At The Food Table

While waiting in line for the food, start chatting up the person next to you. This is a great opportunity to get a conversation started because you already have something in common: the food. Everyone is thinking the same thing, What am I going to try? What looks good?

So, instead of just standing there in silence, start a conversation. Here are a few conversation starters for this situation:

  • “Oh man, everything looks so good… I’m not sure what to get! What are you thinking?”
  • “Yummy, they have ___! Have you ever tried it?”
  • “Hmm, I’m not quite sure what that dish is… do you know?”

Who knows, you might leave the buffet with a better plate of food AND a new contact! That’s a win-win in my book.

Find A Loner
If you see someone standing alone in the corner, clutching his or her drink, and looking miserable, don’t be afraid to walk up and introduce yourself. Typically, these people need a little help getting the conversation going.

Here are some ice breakers:

  • “Man, these networking events can be so crazy. Mind if I join you over here where it’s a little quieter?”
  • “Wow, there are a ton of people here! The food must be good, huh?”
  • If someone is standing alone, he or she is probably feeling uncomfortable or unconfident. If you initiate the conversation, it could make them feel more relaxed and willing to connect.

Compliment Them
Everyone loves compliments, especially when they are feeling insecure (and many people do feel that way when attending networking events). If you’re struggling to start a conversation with someone, find something to compliment.

Here are some ideas:

  • “Yum, that drink looks good. What is it?”
  • “Cute shoes! Where did you get them?”
  • Talk About Sports
  • People love talking about sports. If you’re a sports person, use it to your advantage!

See someone wearing a Red Sox cap? Say something like, “Red Sox fan, huh? Did you catch the game yesterday?”

Overhear a group of people talking about last night’s game? Express your interest in the conversation by saying something like, “Are you talking about ……?”, then chime in.

Just Say Hello
Sometimes, the easiest way to meet someone is to offer a handshake and say, “Hi, I’m Peter.” Simply introducing yourself with a smile and a dash of confidence can work wonders.

Keeping The Conversation Going
I know what you’re thinking, Yes, yes, that’s all well and good, but how can I keep the conversation going after the initial question?

It’s easy! Talk about something else you have in common – the event itself! Here are some ideas:

  • “I’m Gina, by the way, nice to meet you…”
  • “So, is this your first time at one of these events?”
  • “So, how did you hear about this event?”
  • “What a great place for an event, huh? Have you ever been here before?”

After that, try learning more about them. Questions can include:

“Are you from the area?”
“What line of work are you in or trying to get in?”
Next step: get them talking. Remember, people generally like to talk about themselves. So, once they tell you what they do, ask questions about it. Here are a few:

  • “That’s very interesting…”
  • “What drew you to that line of work?”
  • “What do you like about your job?”
  • “Why are you interested in working in that industry specifically?”

Your Exit Strategy
It’s that time: your drink is dry and you’re ready to move on. When the conversation starts to wind down, don’t try to force more. Remember, you’re there to mix and mingle – don’t chain yourself to one person all night.

If you’d like to exit a conversation, try one of these lines:

  • “Alright, I’m going to get some food now that the line has died down a bit. It was great meeting you!”
  • “Have you met Lisa? She works in your industry as well. I’m sure you both will have plenty to talk about. I’ve got to say hello to someone, but I’ll be back.”
  • “Well, I think it’s time for me to head out. I would love to talk with you again, though. May I have your card/contact information?”

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Filed under Network, Self-Improvement, Skill

Forward My Resume Please

Networking for Mutual Benefit is a key part of the job search.

Introducing yourself to others who may be able to introduce you to good job opportunities can only happen if you network well. This activity is important to get your resume in front of the right person. Especially since over 80% of all jobs are not published. Your friends, family and growing network contacts are the path to these jobs.

Here are some tips for doing this:

1. Make sure the person you are talking with learns enough about you.
You do not want someone to talk about you unless they know enough to be able to introduce you to the right people. They do not need to know your life history, but they do need to know the key points about your skills, experiences, passion and career goals.

2. Ask them to review your resume so that they know what it says.
You may have told them one thing, but your resume may say it differently, or include something that you did not tell them. Talking with you about your resume content can help make sure they are better informed to share your resume with the right people (not organizations, but people).

3. Have your networking contact only share your resume where it is relevant and with people they know.
There is no value to the job seeker to use networking as another means of getting your resume scattered around town. This is what Monster, Careerbuilder, Ladders, LinkedIn and the other Job Boards are for. Having your resume delivered directly to someone who can benefit by seeing it is far more important and successful to both the job seeker and recruiter/hiring manager. Also, anyone knowing the true value of networking for Mutual Benefit will not flood their contacts with random and irrelevant resumes. This is rude and can tarnish a good relationship.

4. Ask that your networking contact to tell you where they plan to send your resume before they do so.
This is important for the job seeker for a few reasons. You may not want your resume shared at a business where you do not want to work, especially if you are still working and the business is a sister or partner company. Additionally, you want to be able to follow up afterwards and talk directly with the person your resume was forwarded to.

5. Thank your networking contact anytime they share your resume.
A good honest thank you followed by an offer to help them in any way goes a long way to nurture the relationship you have with a new contact as well as a long time friend.

You need to use Networking for Mutual Benefit to get your resume in front of the right people. Do this right and you it works.

This article is from Teddy Burriss’s blog @ http://www.ncwiseman.com/

Teddy Burriss

Networking Strategist at Burriss Consulting, Inc.

http://tlburriss.com/

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Filed under Initiative, Network, References

Cast a Wide Net

Wherever you go, there you are, right?

That being said, can you be in two places at the same time?  Or three?  Or fifty????  Probably not, if you think conventionally.  However, if you just realize that every day you meet people.  Whether at the grocery store, gas station, post office, hospital or wherever.  Every person you meet is an opportunity to make a connection; to learn about them, and to share about yourself.  When you are looking for a job, it is important to get the word out to everyone you meet.  I don’t mean just run up to perfect (and not-so-perfect) strangers and say, “HEY!  I need a job.  Can you help me?”  But, you can briefly mention in it as a part of your conversation with that person.   Likewise, if they are looking for a job, or a new car, or a restaurant, they will ask you!  And you will do your best to help them get their answer.  We all do that for each other.  Or, at least most of us do!  So, know that when you tell someone you are looking for a new job or career, they are taking that information with them.  And sharing.  And those they share it with are sharing.  And sharing.  And so on.

Remember that you are never alone.  It just feels that way sometimes.  But, believe me.  Somewhere, someone is helping you.  You just don’t know it!

Sandy Jolley

Employment Specialist

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Filed under Network, Skill, Tool Box

Casting A Wide Net

Wherever you go, there you are, right?
That being said, can you be in two places at the same time?  Or three?  Or fifty????  Probably not, if you think conventionally.  However, if you just realize that every day you meet people.  Whether at the grocery store, gas station, post office, hospital or wherever.  Every person you meet is an opportunity to make a connection; to learn about them, and to share about yourself.  When you are looking for a job, it is important to get the word out to everyone you meet.  I don’t mean just run up to perfect (and not-so-perfect) strangers and say, “HEY!  I need a job.  Can you help me?”  But, you can briefly mention in it as a part of your conversation with that person.   Likewise, if they are looking for a job, or a new car, or a restaurant, they will ask you!  And you will do your best to help them get their answer.  We all do that for each other.  Or, at least most of us do!  So, know that when you tell someone you are looking for a new job or career, they are taking that information with them.  And sharing.  And those they share it with are sharing.  And sharing.  And so on.
Remember that you are never alone.  It just feels that way sometimes.  But, believe me.  Somewhere, someone is helping you.  You just don’t know it!

Sandy Jolley

Employment Specialist

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Filed under Initiative, Network, Tool Box

The 60 Second Elevator Speech

The job search process has changed.  Networking is more important than ever.  One must be ready to go out to network.  My biggest rule on networking is to BE THERE.  You must be at functions and must be there mentally.  In order to have a successful networking session, you should:

a) have a goal and a plan

b) be ready to “practice” your plan

c) have a positive attitude.

The first part of your plan should be your 60-second elevator speech.  Who are you?  What do you do?  What is unique about you?  What are your special skills?  Where would you be at your best?
Now practice that on your friends and family…..I find that dogs make the best judges…they are so positive.  So if Rover likes the speech, you’re good to go!

Tempy Albright

Job Developer

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Filed under Attitude, Network

Do Your References Know That They Are Your References?

It is imperative when you are job searching that you alert your references, personal and professional, and tell them that you need their support. Remind them that you are job searching, tell them why you chose them, and make sure their contact information is updated. Although we are now deeply immersed in a world of texts, emails and social media, a phone call is still a very accepted means of communication. So do yourself a favor and call your references and thank them in advance for helping you to land a job and prepare them to be an effective spokesperson for you.

Tanika Hawkins

Career Connections Coordinator

Prosperity Center

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Filed under Courtesy, Network, References