Learn to love networking – Mustachemagazine

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Learn to love networking

Networking can seem intimidating, but it shouldn't be. It’s just about talking to people – about what you do and what they do. No matter who you are or what you do for a living, there will be dozens of people at the party tonight who match your interests. Just like you approach a stranger and introduce yourself, you can do the same thing to find out who's at the party. According to Raphael Sternberg, you can find out who the IT experts are at any local event. Just dress up, approach everyone you see and ask them, in a friendly way, if they are programmers or designers. You’ll immediately start getting referrals – and word-of-mouth advertising. Here we'll look at tips for learning to love networking.

1. Gather like minds

A networking event is not only an opportunity to collect business cards, it is also a chance to meet people who could become your friends. If you see someone you know, ask them if they can introduce you to two or three interesting people, then do the same for them. This will create a feeling of unity and inclusion among participants.

2. Focus on what you do, not what you get or even give.

Most people think networking is about selling. However, according to Mr. Sternberg, the most important goal of networking is to make new friends. One of the classic pitfalls is planning to meet someone to establish a relationship, then forgetting why you're there. If you have a good reason for going to an event, it will be easier to focus on what you're there for – and hide your true motivations from other attendees.

3. Make your speech

If you're invited to speak at a networking event, don't think you have to try to generate sales immediately. You will be giving your speech as a guest, and no one expects you to make money from it. You can try new ideas or share tips on how others can improve their businesses.

4. Prepare some talking points

If you're invited to speak, the most common mistake people make is to pick up their invitation card and read their speech, hoping to seem like they know what they're doing. It's all part of a networker's nightmare. The more you practice your talking points, the more comfortable you will be and the more relaxed you will appear while speaking. You can also try a technique known as “VIP cards.” These are short, to-the-point talking points that summarize your goals for the meeting in six or seven seconds or less.

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5. Set a quota
Too many business people go to networking events with the idea that they are going to collect as many business cards as possible. If you're in it for the numbers, you'll spend time with relatively insignificant people because of their perceived importance. Instead, consider bringing in a few people who will be vital to you and who can help you move forward. “I would always try to leave two people aside,” says Raphael Sternberg. “If I could establish rapport with two people, I knew I was doing well.