We all network, every day. At its base level, networking is simply communicating with someone in an effective way. Whether it’s a conversation at the water cooler or at a business event, knowing how to effectively network is an important skill for anyone growing in his or her career. Here are some key tips and tricks to keep in mind whenever you find yourself in an important conversation. Remember, these tips may be applicable in all areas of life, but are especially helpful in developing a business personality.

You’re There to Give, not Get

    Giving an arduous monologue can easily get in the way of a meaningful conversation. Don’t let your portion of the conversation overrun that of the person with whom you are speaking. Remember, you should do your best to contribute to the conversation in a constructive way. This means allowing the conversation partner ample time to speak their mind and share their thoughts. Don’t forget to respect the speaking time of the other person in the conversation. You’re there to give a platform for the other person to speak.

Don’t Appear Desperate

    In this way, networking at a professional level is the same as dating. Being too desperate is a major turn off. If you find yourself networking with someone in a higher position or someone who could offer you something professionally, do your best to avoid appearing needy. Instead, find confidence in what you’re offering them. Believe that what you have to offer is valuable, because it most certainly is! If you don’t have confidence in what you can bring to the table professionally, it may be a sign that you should peruse other endeavors. Keep in mind, when networking professionally, confidence is key.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

    Keeping the conversation alive is important. Be careful to steer clear of “yes” or “no” questions, because they generally deny the responder the chance to elaborate. If you do have a “yes” or “no” question, try rephrasing it to make it more open ended. For example, asking, “do you play any sports” is not as effective as asking “what sports do you play?” Sure, there is a chance that the responder doesn’t play any sports, but that’s an answer that they will be able to give as well as elaborate on. Allowing the chance for elaboration makes the responder feel appreciated.

Networking is all about staying comfortable and maintaining sincere conversations. For more tips, check out this article.

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