The Art of Networking

This evening I attended a UCL Skills4Work workshop on networking.  I signed up for it because networking is on my list of skills I want to improve on in the coming year.  I came away with some useful ideas, so I thought I’d share them here:

  • If you want to start a conversation with someone start with an open-ended question about them.  Use the situation to help you think of something (you don’t have to go in with “So, what do you do?”).
  • If a conversation isn’t going so well and you want to move on there isn’t really an easy way to do it.  You just need the courage and to be honest.  A good closing comment could be “Great to meet you, hope you have a great event.”
  • Listening is really important.  Aim to spend 70% of the time listening and 30% of the time talking.
  • Your elevator pitch.  I’d heard of this before, but not prepared one – it’s your 30 second answer to “What do you do?”.  Say what you do, why you do it and what your passions are – don’t just list facts.  Practice it, but make sure it doesn’t sound scripted.  It should be flexible depending on the situation.
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