The Secret to Networking Success and Why it Works

August 11, 2016

Career Advice

3797531007_7905c9eb46_zNetworking is a word that makes many job seekers cringe. But here’s a secret only the best networkers know about: networking is really just…talking. That’s it! Before your next networking event, don’t think, “I’m going to network with industry leaders.” Instead, say, “I’m going to talk to some people.” And what would do during a normal conversation at a party? You’d get to know the person and maybe introduce them to a few other people who you think they’d like. Easy!

Most of the best conversations start on a subject other than work. However, unlike a party setting, most people are too scared to step off the beaten path during a work event. Everyone talks about the same subjects or makes the same complaints until everyone blends together. So how do you differentiate yourself? Talk about something else!

Work on establishing a connection first, then “network” later. Don’t open with, “What do you do?” Making a connection means finding something in common. Asking where people grew up, what the like to do for fun, what university they attended, or what sports teams they cheer for are easy conversation starters. Dive into what their weekend plans are or what’s the last great book they read. Be the person who says hi first, and asks the first question. Take control of the conversation, but be a great listener too.

Once you’ve found something in common or a topic you’re both passionate about, it’s much easier to progress to the networking part. And perhaps you didn’t quite find something in common…but you know someone who does. That’s the kicker: networking is all about “What can I do for you?” Not “What can you do for me?” So don’t think of a conversation as time wasted if it turns out to not directly help your career. You have no idea who that person could eventually put you in touch with down the line.

So, I guess the secrets out: we’re all just people with friends who’d like to get to know each other and help each other. Now networking doesn’t sound so bad, right?

Image via kylesteed/Flickr.



About Spectrum Brands Careers

Spectrum Brands is a global $5 Billion Consumer Products company headquartered in Middleton, Wisconsin. While you may not be familiar with the Spectrum Brands name, there is no doubt you will recognize some of our brands.

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