Perfect the art of networking with these simple tips

Perfect the art of networking with these simple tips

Make a new year’s resolution to overcome awkwardness when gaining business leads.

ONE of the first things to greet executives on their return to the office in the new year should be the fruit of attending all those pre-Christmas hospitality events – a neat stack of business cards promising new business leads.

But perhaps not. Many people will be lucky to have amassed a small handful of new business cards, most of which promise dead ends and which are destined to join the pile of last year’s business cards which still haven’t seen any action.

In 2012, networking will become an increasingly important skill as business opportunities continue to prove scarce. Networking contacts are also the number one route to a new job for most professionals. If your festive networking efforts were less than impressive, make improving your networking skills your new year’s resolution.

Walking into a room full of unknown faces already arranged happily into pairs can make you want to huddle in a corner and spend this valuable time tweeting on your BlackBerry. Networking opportunities are frequently missed because people either can’t overcome their reluctance to talk to strangers, or go into high-powered selling-mode.

Preparation is the key. Before attending an event, find out who is going to be there. Get a list of attendees from the organiser, identify the ones you would like to meet and set yourself a reasonable target. If you are attending a seminar, for example, aim to meet four or five new people.

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