#1 Dress with intention
The concept of “dress to impress” is nothing new. Research on first impressions suggests that physical appearance plays a big part in non-verbal communication. In other words, most people will decide if they like you before you even say a word.
#2. Visualize the Outcome
After you have decided how you want to look, think about your goals for networking
Some things you should consider are: Who exactly do you want to talk to? Are you interested in making as many new connections or creating few but meaningful ones? Do you want to be remembered as e approachable and easy-going or strictly goal-oriented? Most importantly, what do you want to get out of networking? New professional connections? Friends in a company you want to work for?
#3 Active Listening
It is more than just hearing. The act involves paying uttermost attention to what the speaker is saying, following up with clarifying questions where relevant and necessary, and making sure you get the essence of the conversation.
One of the most fundamental networking skills. Imagine, for example, getting lucky enough to talk to a recruiter from one of your target law firms, and you make a bad expression by constantly interrupting them or asking them to repeat themselves because you weren’t paying attention. Remember that respectful and polite people tend to thrive at networking, as they are easy to get along with, understanding, and approachable.
If you’re going to go to a place full of strangers or acquaintances with the goal of creating professional and social ties, then you definitely need confidence! As a skill, confidence defines how sure you are about what you say, what you do (or plan on doing), and your decisions. Now, if you’re not naturally confident, practice your confidence by doing some of the following:
Maintain eye contact with the speaker.
Speak in a friendly tone.
Prepare something to discuss in advance, so you don’t stumble on your words. Of course, this depends on the intention of your networking (e.g.if you’re going to talk to a specific recruiter, you’ll want to ask them about the company, workplace environment, etc.)
Offer help. Instead of focusing on self-interest, prioritize sharing advice and tips with others. By offering your expertise and knowledge, you can build a reputation as someone who’s trustworthy and competent.