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Networking: Finding Common Ground

Networking can be done with ease, as long as you remain calm and attempt to find common ground with whichever employer, colleague, or boss you’re trying to connect with at the time. Karen Wickre, author of TAKING THE WORK OUT OF NETWORKING, gives three steps to forming deeper connections while networking. 

If you’re attuned to these three elements, you can make a good contact in as little as twenty or thirty minutes. And remember, a good contact—a meaningful connection—is not measured in numbers. As Ivan Misner, the founder of BNI (Business Network International) has said, “If your network is a mile wide and an inch deep, it will never be successful.” Here are three ways to help you start making deeper connections:

Find common ground quickly.

This can be the person who’s introduced you, the fact that you’re attending the same event, or are in the same field. It’s whatever common ground you have, however slight, that lets you begin the conversation.

Opener: “Alicia and I worked together two jobs ago. How do you know her?”

Share a story.

Each of you having a turn to tell the other one something about yourself creates a bond. It can be as basic as how you landed your job or why you live where you live. Reveal a bit of personality instead of simply reciting the bare bones. What you feel like revealing is a measure of whether your bond is growing.

Opener: “I was an army brat, and that’s what led me to real estate. I want to help people put down roots.”

Discover a future to-do.

If in the course of your conversation you learn that you’re both taking an upcoming class, starting a blog, going to a reception or conference next month, or anything similar, you’ve found a kindred spirit. If the conversation leads to more formal contact or collaboration in the near future, even better.

Opener: “I’m really looking forward to your presentation on user research next month. If you need to practice running through your deck, I’d be happy to help.”

Find out more tips on how to network at events in Taking the Work Out of Networking by Karen Wickre!

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Tips on Life & Love: How to Network Like a Pro

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Excerpted from Taking the Work Out of Networking by Karen Wickre. Copyright © 2018 by the author. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

Photo by Arnel Hasanovic on Unsplash.

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