5 Tips for Successful Networking

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June 25, 2008 12:52 AM
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board room business
Dmitriy Shironosov
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Know Your Target

You can network with virtually anyone, but youll yield better results by honing in on someone in your field with more experience and power. These are the kinds of contacts that could evolve into mentors.
board room conversation
Dmitriy Shironosov
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Be Prepared.

Know what youre looking for. If you want a mentor, focus on a notable person in that segment of the industry. (If youre hungry for a publicist position, find someone in that position.) Dont be afraid to use flattery to get what you want. Youd be surprised how well people respond to it! Bring a stack of business cardsbut dont just hand them out to everyone. Be selective, and show your appreciation by having some appropriate talking points ready.

Don't Rush

Its always best to approach someone by speaking about something other than work. Break the ice. Remark on details from the event "These canaps are delicious!" Thats a more organic segue into your agenda making an impression on someone who could help your career.
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Anna Bryukhanova
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Ask Questions

The best way to engage a stranger is by asking a lot of questions about what he or she does. Go ahead, be nosy! Find out what they do, whether they like it, what they are particularly proud of. Its a great way to ingratiate yourself while also gleaning relevant information about the industry. Be as sincere as possible, though. Your goal is to create a lasting impression, but not as an opportunist.

Follow Up

In order to develop an ongoing relationship and dialogue with a mentor, you should make a point of sending a thank you note if you shared a particularly memorable or lengthy conversation. Ask if your would-be contact might be interested in coffee to continue the dialogue. Worst-case scenario: She says no. Best case: Youve got a potentially beneficial contact to add to your Rolodex.