Networking Tips

Learn The Public Speaker's 7 secrets to great networking.

Lisa B. Marshall
2-minute read

Turning your conversations into relationships is the goal of networking. Mutually beneficial long-term relationships is how things get done. So if you have a reciprocal, positive relationship with someone, you can turn to them when you need advice, references, insight, or any other professional help. 

Here are 7 networking techniques or guidelines that I’ve found helpful:

  1. The first, and perhaps most important thing, is to be yourself. Talk real, act real, be real. Being yourself allows you to be comfortable, confident, and consistent.

  2. Take a genuine interest in other people. Get to know them. Learn from them.  

  3. Project confidence. Smile. Always communicate your story in a compelling manner. Use good posture and have a firm handshake. People make judgments quickly, some researchers say in minute or less, so all of these things can have a significant impact on the first impression.

  4. Quickly find common ground. People build bridges between themselves by discussing things they have in common. Think of small talk not as insincere convention, but rather as a tool for quickly discovering what it is that you have in common. Common ground is what moves an initial contact to a connection.

  5. Pay attention. You can make connections almost anywhere. Take people to lunch instead of sitting at your desk. Talk to the people sitting next to you at every event you attend—at a conference, at a wedding, at the supermarket. Opportunities for contacts and connections are all around, don’t wait for a networking event.

  6. Give. Give. Give. To build a strong relationship you need to give something. Add value; even if it’s just an introduction to another person. Always think about how you might be able to help a person in your network. Be generous with your time and energy.

  7. Stay in touch. Follow through with your promises. Continue to provide useful information. Send quick notes just to check-in and ask how things are going. Staying in touch is what moves connections to relationships.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

About the Author

Lisa B. Marshall

Lisa B. Marshall Lisa holds masters with duel degrees in interpersonal/intercultural communication and organizational communication. She’s the author of Smart Talk: The Public Speaker's Guide to Success in Every Situation, as well as Ace Your Interview, Powerful Presenter, and Expert Presenter. Her work has been featured in CBS Money Watch, Ragan.com, Woman's Day, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and many others. Her institutional clients include Johns Hopkins Medicine, Harvard University, NY Academy of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Genentech, and Roche.