How to: effectively network face-to-face.

I’m just getting into networking. You’d think it would be simple saying who you are and what you do, it doesn’t always go that smoothly. Especially if you don’t know what to say. It can be nerve-wracking saying who you are and what you do, because sometimes we aren’t really sure.

Firstly, you should introduce yourself. Rule #1 – Introduce yourself WELL!

A recent blog post by A Branch of Holly inspired me to think about my brand statement – not just for my blog, but for myself. Who am I? What do I do? If you think about it, it may be a simple answer.

“I’m Sophie Dishman and I’m a blogger and a journalism student.”

Have a go at saying your own. “I’m [insert name] and I’m a [insert role].

If you can’t pin it down to one role, then think – What creative role do I identify with the most?

You are I are so much more than that.

In that instance, we need to lengthen it a little bit. What are your aims in that role? What are your interests? Making it a little longer affirms to your contact who you are and what you do. It makes you sound sure of your brand.

Brand statements are important when networking, in that respect.

Think of them as a short, verbal CV that tells a potential contact who you are. It allows them to make their mind up about whether you are a worthwhile contact to them.

So, let’s have another go.

“I’m Sophie Dishman, also known under the brand name, The Musings of a Journalism Student. I am a journalism student at the University of Sunderland. I have a range of roles within all of the Media Hub platforms. I am also a blogger on The Musings of a Journalism Student. I blog about different topics that I am passionate about from social media and student issues, to politics, fashion and beauty. The aim of my blog is to share my experience, thoughts and tips on a variety of subjects to help individuals.”

That sounds better, doesn’t it? It may be a lot to say but it’ll get someone interested and open up talking points.

Think about what you want people to know about you and your personal brand.

Have a go at making your own. No more than six sentences.

Once you have your personal brand statement, you can move on to the next step.

Hopefully your brand statement will have instigated conversation. If it has then you can move onto talking more about your experiences and knowledge or you can ask your contact questions about themselves.

Rule #2 – Listen to what the person has to say.

Listen to what your contact has to say next – this will steer your next move.

If they ask about anything in your brand statement then there’s your chance to talk more deeply about them. What do you do in the role? Why did you start that role? Think of them as bullet points on your CV. Short and sharp.

In my blogging role I create content based on ideas from a range of sources, facilitate my blogging brand by using social media to encourage engagement and so on.

If they don’t then ask them what they do. This will encourage conversation and will show that you care about them too. Contacts should take and give.

You should let the conversation flow from there.

A big part of networking is asking questions and listening to what the other person has to say.

When the conversation comes to an end, the last part of effective networking is leaving a lasting impression. Rule #3 – Remember to leave your contact details. 

You could give your business card or simply give your email or social media handles. I’m learning to give my Twitter out as well as my email. It shows professionalism and will leave the impression you want. You may not see this person again so allow them to contact you.

If you feel confident, ask for there’s too. Just ask: “Would it be possible to have your contact details?”

Manners don’t go a miss either – please and thank you and even shaking hands (if you or they wish!)

Then, voila – you have another contact.

It’s as simple as that. Just remember: Introduce, listen, leave contact details.

1, 2, 3!

Do you have any tips for networking? Do you enjoy networking? What do you find difficult?

Let me know below in the comments section or on my social media accounts.


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One comment

  1. Wow a lot more thought goes into this than what I initially expected. It got me thinking! Great Post/

    Liked by 1 person

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