Talking to strangers can often be a daunting task. I mean, your parents even warned you against it as a child.

However, when you are an adult entering the professional world, speaking to people you don’t know becomes an essential part of succeeding in your role and moving up the ladder.

Ultimately, networking is just building up those connections between yourself and your colleagues, stakeholders, and others in your industry. Establishing positive relationships with these people can make everything – from your daily tasks up to massive projects – into more of a smooth operation.

Why bother?

– Your network is your solid go-to group for news, advice, support, and information

– Meeting new people in your industry exposes you to new skills, ideas and ways of working

– Effective networking keeps you front of mind for promotions and any exciting job opportunities that might open up

How to do it

1. Start with those you know

Maybe you have a few friends already who are working in a relevant industry, or even running their own businesses.

Facebook and LinkedIn are both great tools to stay up to date and reconnect with old pals. Reach out to them for a catch up, and let them know it would be great to work with them some day.

Note: Social networking is definitely a huge part of building connections – read more on networking in the digital age here.

2. Prepare for work events

Firstly – attend work events! Even if it’s not mandatory, attending industry functions is the best way to meet new people in a professional environment (not to mention it makes you look like the office superstar in front of the boss).

The best way to overcome your shyness is to prepare ahead of time. We all know there’s nothing worse than starting up a conversation only to have it wither into that awkward lengthy pause, the void filled only with light coughing.

Whether it requires writing some talking points down, or doing a bit of research prior to meeting someone, make it happen.

3. Ask for introductions

Don’t feel comfortable surprising someone with an overly chipper ‘Hello!’ from a stranger? Ask for a mutual connection to introduce you.

If you don’t have a mutual connection, ask one of the event organisers to introduce you – they will generally know the most about who’s attending and the companies they represent.

4. Make it a habit

Once you’ve got the hang of it, speak to everyone and anyone! Well, use your judgement of course, but you never know – the guy you always see on the bus might be your next mentor, or the person who will invest in your business idea.

As soon as you start to view introductions as opportunities, you’ll find it much easier to reach out to new people.

Martin offers plenty of career support and workshops through the Career Starter Program as well as through online platform Brightly. If you’re ready to get started on your chosen career path, give our team a call directly on 1300 762 129 or contact us via the website.


Categories: Career Advancement, News, Studying, Working Life

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