Career Reinvention Essentials!

Networking Basics – Career Planning Tips

If you are going to network, you must be able to start a conversation.  The art of conversation is essential on the list of networking basics. This can be a particular challenge for someone who is shy or quiet. Even if you aren’t shy or quiet you probably want some conversation starters to help you network more effectively.

Here are a few conversation starters to help you with your career planning and networking:

Networking Basics Tip 1- Share Something About Yourself and Ask About Your Conversation Partner

An example would be, “Hi my name is Vaneese. I’m here to learn more about networking. What  have you learned so far?” This is great if you are sharing a table with someone at a luncheon or dinner. This is a great ice breaker to use for the people you are sitting next to. Don’t drill the person with questions. Share a little about yourself and ask the person about their opinions or experience. Let the conversation flow from there. If you sense a lull in the conversation feel free to ask a relevant question or change the topic to something more interesting.

Networking Basics Tip 2- Remember to Ask Open-Ended Questions

Yes or no questions get yes or no answers. You can turn a typical yes or no question like, “Are you having fun this evening?” into an open ended question by asking, “Are you having fun this evening? What has been the highlight of the evening to you so far?” Let the other person talk and warm up to you. Remember to smile!

Networking Basics Tip 3- Share Relevant Information

If you’re at a marketing conference introduce yourself and share relevant marketing information or tips you know with the people you meet. Ask them about any marketing advice they might have or if they have questions about something you might be able to help them with. Be a resource. Do some research before going to events to add to your knowledge base.

And remember to Relax and Smile. If you look tense, you will naturally deflect people from you. Your presence should be confident in your own way. Be enthusiastic about what you are doing and why you are there.  Have business cards ready if you make a connection. You should also remember to offer your help or advice if someone has questions about something that you are knowledgeable about. If you aren’t knowledgeable about something but can offer a relevant resource this will also make you stand out more than most people. Starting a conversation is an essential component of networking basics and if done properly can lead to new opportunities and relationships for you in the future.

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The Career Reinvention Coach

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About the Author

Vaneese Johnson Vaneese is an Entrepreneur, Speaker, Writer and a Certified Career Action Coach with a passion for helping people be successful and strategic in every aspect of their career!  “I am passionate about working with professionals to help them create and focus on aligning their personal values, professional skills and goals within their careers and lives!” More about Vaneese...