It’s no secret that networking can get you closer to the job of your dreams. You’ve probably heard this countless times from recruiters, mentors, and career sites like Campus to Career. You’ve heard networking is important. You know it’s important. But when you go to a networking event, are you the person who stands around the edge of the room trying to “blend in”.
Networking is about being noticed. It’s about getting your name out there and becoming known to other industry professionals. You have to be bold, and you have to stand out from the crowd. In my experience, even if you’re a reluctant networker, there are 4 things you can do that will make you appear confident, and help you network with impact and results.
1) Arrive early
When you arrive early at a networking event, you give yourself a significant advantage – you can see who enters the room and you can be the first to speak with them. Arriving early means arriving at the designated start time, or within 15 minutes of that. If you arrive late to a networking event, groups have already been formed and the people whom you want to meet are already engaged in conversation. Breaking into a conversation is much more difficult that starting a fresh conversation with somebody who has just entered the room.
2) Create an outfit that gets you noticed
When you walk into the networking event room, it’s your outfit and your body language that others will notice first. Instead of wearing colours that make you blend into the crowd, opt for high-contrast colours and bold styles to help you get noticed. Ladies, add impact to a simple black dress with a contrasting red or white jacket. And don’t forget about your shoes. A pair of striking heels can instantly change your attitude and confidence. Gentlemen, you can enhance a simple white shirt with high-contrast cufflinks in navy or black. Or, choose a white shirt that already has contrasting buttons or colour detail in it.
3) Be bold with your body language
Body language has a major impact on the first impression we make. By simply adopting powerful body language poses at networking events, you can immediately change your impression from meek and insecure to poised and powerful, regardless of how you truly feel inside. Confident body language stems from good posture. Hold your rib cage up and keep your head held high. When you hold your head high you expose your neck, the most vulnerable part of your body, and project to the networking crowd confidence and poise.
4) Use a quality business card case
A quality business card case is probably one of the most underutilised networking tools in Western countries, but will absolutely make you stand out from the crowd. When the other person sees you remove your business card from a proper case, they’ll know that you’re somebody who cares about the smaller details. When they see you put their card in your business card case, it signals that you hold them in high regard. A few moments of respect for a potentially important business contact can have a long-term positive impact on your career.
I invite you to try these tips at your next networking event. By implementing just one of these tips, you’ll be noticed a little more. By implementing all four of these tips, you’ll absolutely have more impact and get more results from that networking event.
****For this great post, Campus to Career thanks Kara Ronin!****
About the author: Kara Ronin is an international business etiquette expert and the author of the eBook, The Ultimate Networking Roadmap: Rise above fear to network with confidence and class. Visit her blog Executive Impressions to claim your free 7 Step Networking Roadmap and get fabulous tips on networking and international business etiquette.