Business networking is a socioeconomic business activity by which groups of like-minded businesspeople recognize, create, or act upon business opportunities. This has been pounded into our minds as a necessary tool for growing business and in general, succeeding in any type of venture. Recruiter networking is a subset of this, and critically important for sourcing candidates and new business opportunities.
Now, there are those people who seem to be the Hollywood actor of professional networking. It is as if a spotlight is cast upon them as they gracefully swagger around the room, kissing babies and shaking hands, causing smiles and laughter as they take on the evening.
Well, what about the other 90% who are pleased with themselves for just showing up to a recruiter networking event? That may be you. Perhaps you have attended several events now, with a list of things you hope to accomplish and people you want to meet, yet you leave the event thinking you were more of a wall flower than a productive networker. These tips are for you.
You Are There To Ask For Help
Many networkers attend events as though they are inconveniencing those they are attempting to meet and get to know. These people have registered for the event for the same reason you have, and they want to be asked for help, or ask for help themselves. Asking for a trading partner or trusted peer in the industry is not asking someone to do you a favor; you are bringing them something as valuable as you are hoping to gain. Be honest in your conversations as to why you have chosen to attend, and you will find that others will be willing to make your time there valuable. If you are still hesitant to boldly approach someone, ask one of the events coordinators to make an introduction for you; they are there for the event to succeed.
Meet Peers, Not Businesses
Instead of thinking that the recruiter networking event is in place just to meet “businesses,” rephrase it as you are there to make new “friends,” both personal and professional. Instead of thinking of each handshake as a strict business benefit, think of them as peers you have not met yet. Be yourself, and become relaxed in introducing yourself to others. In order to work with someone, you must be able to relate to one another’s personalities. If the idea of business networking seems unnerving, it is just time to redefine what it means.
Ask A Question:
This is one of Dale Carnegie’s rules from the book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Joining a group engaged in conversation can be awkward. The best way to do so is to pose a question to the group after getting a general idea of the conversation, says Handal, CEO of Dale Carnegie & Associates. “You build your credibility by asking a question, and for a shy person, that’s a much easier way to engage than by barging in with an opinion,” he states. Also, people love to talk about themselves. If you can get people to discuss their experiences and opinions—and listen with sincere interest—you can have a great conversation with someone without having to say much at all.
Last, but certainly most important, is the follow up to a recruiter networking event. Sharing contact information or meeting new peers has no impact if you do nothing once you leave the event. If you made plans to email something to someone, or give them a call with information, make sure you follow through on your words. Even emailing over an article you mentioned is a good indication to them that you keep your word, which makes you appear a more trusted partner.