At one time or another, we all find ourselves in networking situations -- office gatherings, conferences, industry associations, etc. -- where we more often than not are talking with people we have never met before. While networking seems like a general right of passage in life, it is now more important than ever.
In fact, if you are looking for a new job, your greatest opportunity for securing a new position is likely through the art of networking. As a recruiter and career coach, I have learned first hand that this venue far exceeds job boards, recruiters and even reaching out to hiring managers directly.
Whether you enjoy meeting new people and chatting about the day’s events and personal interests or you actually dread the thought of having to actively engage in conversation, your networking mindset will determine your outcome. Ask yourself: Do you have an effective networking mindset, or do you just attend events to fulfill an obligation?
By adopting an effective networking mindset, fueled by curiosity, you will change your perspective from just chatting -- or the complete drudgery of just attending -- to yielding positive networking results.
At one time, curiosity fueled our childhood. According to a U.K. study, the average four-year-old asks 73 questions each day. But, one day, we stopped asking questions and became more interested in having the right answers. The right answers, which allow you to collaborate with others, change jobs, provide leads, etc., are all available to you by using your curiosity. Everyone is curious to some extent. Curiosity can serve as a catalyst to carry you through networking events, and it also allows you to see first-hand, immediate positive results.
In order to lead with curiosity to engage in conversation, you must always remember that the overriding premise of all networking is knowing that the one topic people generally love to talk about is themselves.
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