Networking for Success (I)

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Networking is an effective way to spread your value through those around you. Understanding the basic mechanics of networking will increase you success in delivering the right message about yourself to others. In this module, you will learn how to create an effective introduction and how to make a great first impression.

Creating an Effective Introduction

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The first two minutes of your conversation is when most people form an opinion about you. That is why an effective introduction is necessary when networking. In fact, you may only have a few minutes with the person you are meeting to share with them who you are and what you do. In order to create a good and lasting impression use the MEETS technique to introducing yourself.

MEETS stands for the following:

  • Make eye contact
  • Emit a smile
  • Engage in a handshake
  • Tell him or her your name
  • Share what you do or whom you work for

Using these steps will ensure that your introduction gets your message across without taking too much time. Avoid talking too much at the beginning. Allow the other person to introduce him or herself. You should engage the person you are meeting by asking for their information. Short effective introductions help to send a positive message about you.

Your goal is to introduce yourself and share some relevant information about what you do in 30 seconds. You should practice your introduction as if it were a short speech. The more practice you have doing this, the more comfortable you will be in the real setting.

Making a Great First Impression

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You do not have to do a lot to make a great first impression. Sometimes, if you focus too much on making a great impression, you could end up with the opposite results. Making a great first impression is not making it about you. It is making it about the other person. You want to make the other person feel important and worth meeting.

In order to do this you should use the Five B’s. The Five B’s are the following:

  • Be on time: when you are on time, you demonstrate to the other person that you care about their time and value them.
  • Be yourself: when you are yourself, you come across sincere and show you want to build an honest relationship with the person.
  • Be positive: when you are positive you create an inviting environment. When you have a negative attitude, people will want to drift away from you.
  • Be courteous: when you are polite and courteous, people will remember this aspect and create a lasting positive impression.
  • Be brief: when you are talking, avoiding taking too much time. Being too talkative may be seen as a negative trait and this could hurt your first impression.

Your best first impressions will be the ones when you show you care about the other person’s time by valuing their time and thoughts by actively listening to them. Make the interaction less about you and more about the other person and you will make great first impressions. 

Case Study 

Michael shook like a leaf. He looked a guppy in a sea of sharks. Michael had never been taught the art of networking. People buzzed around him. Michael stood frozen in time. Kayleen ran into him. Michael almost toppled offer. Kayleen offered to help. Michael’s nerves were bundled up. Kayleen explained that Michael needed to dive right into a conversation in order to shoo away the jitters. Michael shrugged his shoulders. He had no clue how to strike up a conversation. Kayleen demonstrated her networking skills. Michael’s mouth hung open in awe. Kayleen nudged Michael into a conversation. Michael would have to sink or swim. Anxious seconds went by, then; Michael gathered his nerve and started to speak. To Michael’s surprise people listened. Kayleen applauded his efforts and left him wax poetic.