photo: Maja Wyh
Recently I was invited to an important company dinner. This dinner was prompted by our largest customer, that essentially is the entire reason the company I work for has had its most profitable year yet. Throughout the dinner, I noticed one thing that both my boss and the customer had in common. They both have incredible network connections. In fact, these connections are the main reason that they are in business and are successful today.
Networking can easily be considered one of the most important and powerful marketing tools in business. These personal relationships allow you to stand out amongst both your competitors and your peers.
Fun fact: my boss is the reason that our customer has gotten to where he is today. Their mutually beneficial relationship has allowed them both to profit immensely. Many companies often prefer to do business with someone that they like and trust. With that in mind, here are a few phrases that should make the whole ‘networking’ conversations a little easier…
1. Hi, my name is…
When introducing yourself make sure that you make eye contact, smile, and be as friendly and personable as possible. If you need to follow it up with your position, do so. “Hi, my name is X and I work at Y.”
2. What is your line of work?
Ask questions! Most people love to talk about themselves and especially to someone who is interested in what they have to say. Inquire about what they do in their job and ask how they got to where they are today.
3. What got you interested in this field?
When you ask personal questions like this it shows that you are truly interested in them. The stories of how someone got started are really unique and sometimes inspirational.
4. I really like how you…
Compliment their work and show that you have been paying attention to their successes. Be sincere in your compliments but try not to go over the top.
5. What advice would you give to someone just starting out in this industry?
Often times when you ask this question you will receive valuable feedback and tips you may not have found. Networking is critical in any job, but you can just treat it like a conversation or ‘making a new friend’, you might never see them again, or they might shoot you an email after the event. Who knows? These connections can improve and last throughout your entire career.
Written by McKenzie Allyshia