If you happen to be one of those who find it difficult connecting with people, let alone creating people networks that can yield advantages for you in the future, consider making use of the following pointers:
1. Master the art of remembering names and faces.
The ability to remember names and faces is one of the most important things to have in building networks. As such, you have to develop the skill to easily remember people not just by their visage but also their names. One good way to remember names is to mentally repeat the name at least three times during introductions. It’s similar to studying, as you say the name, the more it gets imprinted in your memory. Also, in addition to mentally repeating the name, immediately use the name to call the person. This does not only help you remember the name; it is also something your new acquaintance would most likely appreciate.
2. Don’t stop with just the names and basic details; consider asking questions.
Don’t end introductions with just the exchanging of names, contact numbers, and other basic details. Try engaging in conversations. Talk about hobbies, current issues you think the other person might find interesting, or other topics that spontaneously come up.
3. Maintain natural eye contact.
It’s not enough that you talk; also think of establishing and sustaining eye contact. Of course, you shouldn’t exaggerate it. Avoid making eye contact awkward by not looking too deeply into the other person’s eyes. However, don’t just randomly shift your sight elsewhere just because you are uncomfortable sustaining the eye contact. There are instances when you can have “eye contact breaks” like when you are nodding to agree on some point mentioned in the conversation or when you are greeting someone who happens to pass by the hall or room.
4. Treat everyone as an equal.
Avoid posturing or acting arrogant or with a sense of superiority. However, you should also learn to avoid feeling small. Think of everyone as an equal. You will always find it difficult to create your network if you perceive other people as inferior or superior to you. Always show a warm and friendly smile to everyone.
5. Don’t say too much about yourself.
Leave your new acquaintances wanting more. Don’t present everything about yourself in a few minutes. It’s difficult to explain it but people tend to gravitate towards people when they don’t know much about them yet. Leave some mystery but don’t be too stingy in sharing things about yourself.
6. Use your business cards.
Business cards may appear obsolete but they are still useful in modern networking. You can try updating your biz cards by incorporating new things like QR codes to make it easier for others to get your details by simply scanning the QR code (with a smartphone).
7. Help others network.
You can leave a better impression if you help others in meeting new people. They will certainly appreciate the gesture and will likely return the favor. As much as possible, though, don’t try to discuss networking through social media. It’s something that should be done but not discussed. It will be to your disfavor trying to share the Twitter or Facebook accounts of people you want to introduce to your new acquaintance.
8. Shake hands and say your new acquaintance’s name once more.
As you end the conversation, be sure to shake hands and say your new acquaintance’s name again. You can use the line “It was great meeting you, (name of the person).”
These techniques sound easy but they are highly effective in making you learn the ropes of networking. They are applicable in almost all situations or settings.