Boost Your Networking Skills

A bag full of experience and a masterful skill set doesn’t ensure that you will receive the right valuation in the job market. We often hear stories where someone with less experience and just-enough skill set landed the dream job we always wanted. Then we wonder, 'How did it happen?' The answer is something we know but do not always leverage—networking.

Yes, the very sound of the word 'networking' might seem daunting. Reaching out to people we may or may not know, initiating a conversation, and demonstrating a positive mindset with a can-do attitude may sound like a lot, but by following a few simple tips, you will find how straightforward it can be.

The goal of networking is simple: to establish and maintain meaningful connections. By building relationships with people who can help you and vice versa, you create a network that can be beneficial to all parties involved. According to Harvard Business Review, ‘When you interact with different people, you are also constantly gathering information. These interactions can result in you learning, growing, and performing at a higher level.’

So, how do you know what kind of people you should connect with? Where do you even start?

Ask yourself question

What are you passionate about? What piques your interest? What do you want to achieve now and in the future?

If your answer to any of these questions is 'I don't know,' you are on the right track. The reason is that, as you ask yourself questions, you naturally seek answers. These answers, in turn, help you identify the kind of people you want to connect with, what you wish to learn from them, what they can offer you, and how you can support them in return.

Remove the language barrier

As you are now clear about your objectives and the kind of individuals you want to connect with, it's time for communication. English, being a global language, can help you make a strong impression. However, if English is not your strong suit, make sure to use formal Bangla in communication when networking locally.

Fluency in communication is important. It not only allows you to articulate your thoughts and express your needs and feelings, but it also allows you to comprehend the perspective of the person you are connecting with.

The placement test is a great tool to assess your language proficiency. By determining your level, you can strategically work on enhancing your language skills. Achieving fluency in English not only strengthens local connections but also opens doors for international networking. The potential benefits of such networking can help gain better career opportunities.

Practice being presentable

Unconsciously or consciously, people consistently form judgements based on how you present yourself. There have been countless studies that suggest dressing professionally can significantly influence your success.

So if you want people to take you seriously, you need to think about how you are showing up online and in person. You don't need to break the bank to achieve this; often, basic items in your closet can be paired together for a well-coordinated outfit with the right colour combinations. For inspiration, you can consider Pinterest your best friend.

Being presentable has both internal and external benefits. Putting effort into your appearance not only elevates your mood but also enhances your confidence. This increased confidence, in turn, improves your performance and leaves a lasting impression. Therefore, consider the adjustments you need to make to attract experiences and people that truly reflect who you are.

Structure your self-introduction

We've all found ourselves in situations where introducing ourselves turns into a rambling session, and we end up forgetting the other person's name. The stress associated with self-introduction makes it easy to mess up.

Whether online or in person, initiate the conversation with a positive attitude. Be polite and ask the person how they prefer to be addressed. When meeting in person, remember to maintain good eye contact and offer a handshake. A useful framework from Harvard Business Review involving three key elements can be quite helpful: your present, your past, and your future.

Start by sharing a bit about your present, beginning with your name and profession. If there is an opportunity to elaborate further, provide details about your current project and expertise. The second part involves sharing relevant information about your past, including your education, work experience, and accomplishments. Lastly, conclude your introduction with your future—explain why you are here and outline the benefits or outcomes of the meeting.

Remember to stay comfortable. Your level of comfort reflects your confidence, and the right mix of confidence and positivity can significantly impact the overall outcome of the interaction, leaving a lasting impression.

A concise and thoughtful self-introduction always sets the tone for a meaningful conversation.

Be Enthusiastic

Believe it or not, enthusiasm is one of the most attractive qualities a person can have. Enthusiasm has an electric energy that always casts a positive light on others. Engaging in conversation with enthusiasm not only makes your message more powerful but also demonstrates to people that you genuinely care.

Dale Carnegie, the author of 'How to Win Friends and Influence People,' once said, "The person who is enthusiastic will find the scales tipped in their favour, and a person of second-rate ability with enthusiasm will outstrip a man of first-rate ability without enthusiasm."

At times, interactions with people may not initially feel interesting or exciting. However, with a touch of enthusiasm, you can skillfully transform these moments, making them more meaningful and engaging.