In a world filled with opportunities to create connections, the skill of networking is essential. Whether you are about to graduate from university or already part of the workforce, you should know how to properly interact with others.
While it may sometimes be difficult and uncomfortable to do in your native language, meeting people in English may pose more challenges. Regardless of how you feel, socializing professionally is an effective way of meeting new people to help you in your career path. Even if you have not reached your English language goals, networking in another language does not have to be painful if you follow our advice.
1. You should prepare before going to a networking event.
Identify your goals and focus on what you want to learn about the people you are going to meet and what you want them to know about you. Have a clear understanding of what you do and how to articulate that to others. Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you there to learn or simply to make business connections?
- Are you thinking of a job change?
- Are you looking to invest or to find some investors?
2. It’s a good idea to some research on the kind of event and people you might meet.
Prepare some easy questions in advance but keep them open-ended. This creates an opportunity for discussion and shows your interest in them. Consider questions that will get others talking as it will help build a genuine connection. Real communication takes place and you will gain confidence using English.
3. Try using small talk to connect with people before exchanging contact information.
If there is not enough rapport between you and the other person, calling them later would not be beneficial to either of you. Engage in the conversation and take mental notes (or physical ones). Quality not quantity would best serve you here and follow up after a few days to help cement the connection you started.
Not all networking has to automatically lead to a job promotion or investments, but it may lead to opportunities you did not expect to have. You may gain insight into other people’s experience and be given useful advice. The person you meet today may eventually lead you to your dream job in whatever field you wish.
To get you ready to meet people, here are some phrases to make you sound both interesting and interested.