Don’t Only Think About Yourself

Everyone at a networking event needs something. Networking can be described as the process of interacting or engaging in communication with others for mutual assistance or support. Networking is a “give and take” thing and going the extra mile to help others will help inspire other people to go the extra mile for you.

You’re talented! Eager! Ambitious! You have lots of ideas to share! And you want to make sure that every person you meet at the event knows who you are and what you do!

We get it. And yes, sharing your story with new contacts is important. But sharing your life story is overkill. Nothing can set a person off more than an aspiring professional who takes no interest in anything beside her own ambitions.

Stop highlighting your latest accomplishment and start listening instead. Find people with industries or careers of interest to you, and ask them questions: How did they get their start? What do they love about their jobs, and what do they wish they could change? By taking an interest in your contact, you will make her feel valued—and hopefully interested in continuing the relationship. And you’ll likely gain some new insights, too.

If you’re looking for a job, don’t ask for it—work for it. Do some research into what your contact does both in and out of work and find ways that you can contribute your time or support. Perhaps you could volunteer your expertise in social media for the big convention she’s heading up, or offer your accounting knowledge for her non-profit. Maybe you are not the solution, but you know someone who is. Provide some opportunity for contacts to see you in a working light, and you’ll be that much closer to a good referral.