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Networking Connections - Tips for Making Connections

Networking is really all about making contacts with new people-getting to know them as individuals, learning what they do, and learning about what they need. Sometimes you are the one who can personally, help them address their need; sometimes you may not be able to help them directly, but you know someone who can.

group of young professionals  doing a cheers at networking event in La Jolla
YPNSD | Young Professionals Network San Diego

Create a Personal Connection

Networking starts by creating a personal connection and building rapport. People like associating with other people with whom they feel some sort of bond due to shared interests or experiences. Getting to that stage is a process of developing some level of:

  1. Commonality

  2. Likeability

  3. Credibility

  4. Rapport

When you meet someone for the first time at a networking event, your first objective is to learn something about the other person and find a common connection - one on which you can begin to build a relationship.

Common Networking Mistakes

Don’t make one of the following common mistakes when you network:

  1. Hard Sell - distributing your business card to as many people as possible, without engaging in conversations or getting to know them.

  2. Business Only - talking only about business and work, never attempting to learn about their personal situation or interests

  3. ME,ME,ME - talking only about yourself, what you do, and the products and/or services you sell, rather than asking questions to get to know the other person

Networking is more than just a professional obligation or a means to an end. It is an art of building authentic relationships and connections that can enhance your personal and professional life. When done with intentionality and authenticity, networking can open doors to opportunities and experiences that you may never have encountered otherwise.

Being intentional in networking means having a clear purpose and focus. It isn't about scattering your attention across as many people as possible, but rather about meeting the right people and fostering meaningful connections. Intentionality in networking also involves setting realistic goals about what you hope to achieve from the interaction. This could range from learning something new, gaining insights into a different industry, or finding potential collaborators for a project.

Authenticity, on the other hand, is about being genuine in your interactions. Authentic networking is rooted in the belief that professional relationships should be built on trust and mutual respect. It means showing genuine interest in the person you are interacting with, listening attentively, and engaging in meaningful conversations. It isn't about pretending to be someone you're not, but rather about being genuine and allowing your true personality to shine through.

San Diego Networking Event for Young Professionals
YPNSD | Young Professionals Network San Diego

When you approach networking with authenticity and intentionality, you are more likely to build stronger, more meaningful connections that can enrich your professional life. People are drawn to authenticity and are more likely to engage with you if they feel you are genuine and sincere. Additionally, being intentional in your networking efforts ensures that you are making the most of your time and energy, and that your networking efforts are aligned with your professional goals.

Remember, networking isn't just about what you can gain from others, but also about what you can offer. By being authentic and intentional, you can ensure that your networking efforts are mutually beneficial and lead to meaningful professional relationships.

YPNSD | Young Professionals Network San Diego

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