But I Don’t Know How to Network with People!

March 18, 2013 by
Filed under: Networking 

 But I Don’t Know How to Network with People!

At a recent event, some­one I hadn’t met before came up to me and asked me for advice on how to net­work. I was flat­tered that the per­son asked me and puz­zled at the same time. I asked him why he wanted my advice.  He told me that he was observ­ing me and noticed how easy it seemed for me to meet peo­ple and start a con­ver­sa­tion with them. He also men­tioned that I looked calm, relaxed and sin­cerely inter­ested in the per­son I was speak­ing with. That last com­ment caught my atten­tion and is some­thing I hear a lot.

Have you ever had a con­ver­sa­tion with some­one who you could tell was not inter­ested in what you did or what you were say­ing? They might of even come up to you, intro­duced them­selves to you first, and started the conversation.

Unfor­tu­nately, I’ve expe­ri­enced that very sce­nario far too often. The per­son who asked me the net­work­ing advice appar­ently didn’t under­stand that in order to best net­work with oth­ers, one must sin­cerely be inter­ested in the per­son they’re net­work­ing with. It’s been my expe­ri­ence that peo­ple for the most part can tell when some­one is not really inter­ested in them.

My first thought after his com­ment was “Of course I’m inter­ested in the per­son I’m speak­ing with!” and I wanted to say that but I didn’t. What I did do was ask him why he wanted to get advice on how to net­work. He told me he wanted to get to know peo­ple and have peo­ple get to know him, but he felt uncom­fort­able going up to some­one and intro­duc­ing him­self. I told him that’s a fair feel­ing to have if you’re not use to net­work­ing. The way to help get over that feel­ing is to sim­ply start doing it. Going up to peo­ple and intro­duc­ing your­self, but remem­ber a few impor­tant points:

  1. Be Your­self – First and fore­most. Don’t try to be some­thing you don’t truly believe you are. I’ve always liked being infor­mal and in most net­work­ing sce­nar­ios, being infor­mal is the way to go. Remem­ber that peo­ple who you want to net­work with, and even­tu­ally sur­round your­self with, will want to know the real you. Peo­ple who like you and will want to do busi­ness with you because of who you are. One thing I see that really helps a lot of peo­ple in net­work­ing, includ­ing myself, is choos­ing to have an out­go­ing and friendly atti­tude. Peo­ple don’t always remem­ber what you say, but they will most likely remem­ber how you make them feel.
  2. Breathe — Take a slow deep breath and slow exhale.  More than once if you want. It will help you relax before you join a con­ver­sa­tion or start a con­ver­sa­tion with peo­ple you don’t know.
  3. Know Your Audi­ence / Know Where You Are — The rea­son I say this is that there are many dif­fer­ent types of envi­ron­ments where you can net­work with oth­ers. Are you net­work­ing at a con­fer­ence, at a party with neigh­bors, at a func­tion for work? Many envi­ron­ments are for­mal, while oth­ers are very infor­mal. An exam­ple of a for­mal envi­ron­ment may be at a busi­ness gala dur­ing the recep­tion por­tion of the event, while an infor­mal envi­ron­ment may be a sport­ing event. You don’t want to net­work at a party with neigh­bors the same way you would net­work at a con­fer­ence rep­re­sent­ing your com­pany or service.
  4. Look Peo­ple in the Eye – When speak­ing with some­one, remem­ber that look­ing them in the eye when they are speak­ing to you, as well as when you are speak­ing to them, is con­sid­ered polite. Not look­ing some­one in the eye when they are speak­ing to you makes it look as though you’re not really inter­ested in them. At the same time, not look­ing some­one in the eyes when you are speak­ing to them makes it appear as though you are not being sin­cere. Quick Note: It’s OK to peri­od­i­cally take a quick glance away from the per­son because you don’t want to appear as though you’re sim­ply star­ing at them either. simple smile But I Don’t Know How to Network with People!
  5. Avoid Get­ting Tongue-Tied by Prepar­ing a Self-Introduction — Hav­ing a self-introduction pre­pared that is clear, inter­est­ing, and well deliv­ered is a very help­ful tool to have in your pos­ses­sion when start­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with some­one you don’t know. How does one do that? The sim­plest way is to write it down. Pre­pare what you are going to say to some­one when intro­duc­ing your­self and then prac­tice, prac­tice, prac­tice. The more you prac­tice, the more it will sound nat­ural and unscripted. What you write down will depend upon the nature of the event you’re prepar­ing for. Regard­less of what you write down or the type of event it is for, what you say about your­self shouldn’t take any longer than 8 to 10 seconds.
  6. It’s OK to Ask Ques­tions – When you are talk­ing with a per­son you’ve met at a recep­tion or some other kind of net­work­ing oppor­tu­nity, you can ask ques­tions to help keep the con­ver­sa­tion going. In my net­work­ing expe­ri­ence, I’ve found that I sin­cerely enjoy learn­ing about other peo­ple (and many peo­ple sin­cerely enjoy talk­ing about themselves). When I meet some­one I pay atten­tion to what they say in order to learn some­thing about them. For exam­ple, if a per­son works for a par­tic­u­lar com­pany, a ques­tion I always ask is, “How long have you worked with XYZ Cor­po­ra­tion?” (Instead of XYZ Cor­po­ra­tion, use the com­pany they’re asso­ci­ated with.) Many times the next ques­tion I ask after that is, “How do you like work­ing for them?” At that point I’ve started the con­ver­sa­tion going with the per­son and most of the time, they are more than happy to speak about their expe­ri­ences. You can ask any ques­tion you feel is appro­pri­ate for the sit­u­a­tion (about them or some­thing else).
  7. Wor­ried About Rejec­tion? Don’t Be – It hap­pens to every­one. Any­one who says they’ve never been rejected is only admit­ting that they’ve not tried it much if at all! There will be peo­ple who don’t respond to your intro­duc­tion the way you would like. If you find your­self in that sit­u­a­tion, don’t take it per­son­ally. Just move on. Cre­at­ing and main­tain­ing an out­go­ing, friendly atti­tude no mat­ter how some­one reacts to you will always make things eas­ier. It also helps to have a sense of humor.
  8. Make It a Choice to Have Fun! — As I men­tioned ear­lier, keep­ing a healthy sense of humor is a key ingre­di­ent to net­work­ing. Another one is sim­ply to relax. At many net­work­ing events, I’ve run into peo­ple who are so seri­ous about net­work­ing. They treat net­work­ing as though it is a nec­es­sary evil that must be done in order to suc­ceed in life. Some­times an indi­vid­ual can be so seri­ous that they alien­ate the very peo­ple they are attempt­ing to net­work with. Unfor­tu­nately, I’ve seen that hap­pen far too often.

Remem­ber a car­di­nal rule about networking:

The goal of net­work­ing is to estab­lish a last­ing work­ing rela­tion­ship with some­one else.

If you find your­self ner­vous in net­work­ing sce­nar­ios, under­stand you’re not the only one. Every­one has dif­fer­ent lev­els of expe­ri­ence and exper­tise when it comes to net­work­ing and no one is born being good at networking. The great thing is that every­one gets bet­ter at net­work­ing the more they do it. The more you prac­tice net­work­ing, the more you just may be sur­prised at how much eas­ier it gets!

 But I Don’t Know How to Network with People!


19 Intelligent Opinions, Leave Yours on But I Don’t Know How to Network with People!

  1. City Sylvester on Mon, 19th Oct 2009 3:52 am
  2. Gilpizano, great post. That tongue tied thing hap­pens to me mostly when I talk to beau­ti­ful women, at these events. I like the site. Oh yea I’ve been hav­ing a great time spin­ning your ama­zon book case.

    Well-loved. Like or Dis­like: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  3. Deb Lamb on Thu, 22nd Oct 2009 6:53 am
  4. Great post!

    I’m always sur­prised when I hear that there are peo­ple out there that don’t know how to net­work or inter­min­gle with oth­ers. This is some­thing that comes SO nat­ural to me that I really have never thought about it.

    I’m the type of per­son that never meets a stranger and can strike up a con­ver­sa­tion with a tree! So it never really occurred to me that peo­ple strug­gle in this area. Wow!

    Your post cer­tainly gave me some insight and things to think about and con­sider when I try to help oth­ers. I’ll have to check in my vir­tual assis­tant forums and see if there might be a need in this area.

    Thanks so much for spark­ing some thought on my end. Really enjoyed your post. Make it a fab­u­lous day!

    Deb :)
    .-= Deb Lamb´s last blog ..5 Tips to Make Your Blog­ging Fun, Effi­cient and Fast! =-.

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  5. Sam Diener on Mon, 2nd Nov 2009 6:10 pm
  6. Hid­den due to low com­ment rat­ing. Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dis­like: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  7. Gil Pizano on Tue, 3rd Nov 2009 7:19 pm
  8. Thanks Sam for the advice! Always much appreciated.

    Take Care,


    Like or Dis­like: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    […] of nav­i­gat­ing the job search. A great sug­ges­tion for these stu­dents? Talk to every­body, show sin­cere inter­est in them as peo­ple, and let them know what your goals […]

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  9. RonnyG on Mon, 30th Nov 2009 11:03 am
  10. Thanks for advices. Great and very use­ful post. Thanks for this infor­ma­tion. I have read lots of this ideas, but your are the first who have wrote every­thing in one post.

    Well-loved. Like or Dis­like: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  11. Rachel Solisandro on Mon, 30th Nov 2009 11:19 am
  12. This is some great advice. I appre­ci­ate it you plac­ing this post!!


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  13. TaniaSun on Wed, 2nd Dec 2009 7:58 pm
  14. Dear Gil!

    All above stuff in your post is the truth. We can com­mu­ni­cate on this theme.

    Thank you,


    Well-loved. Like or Dis­like: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  15. William Hurtzman on Wed, 1st Sep 2010 9:09 am
  16. Ter­rific stuff! This is the type of infor­ma­tion that ought to be shared more often. Shame on the search engines for not posi­tion­ing this post higher!

    Like or Dis­like: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  17. Tom K. on Wed, 1st Sep 2010 11:35 am
  18. While this topic could be very touchy for most indi­vid­u­als, my opin­ion is always that there has to become a mid­dle or com­mon ground that we all can iden­tify. Thank you!

    Like or Dis­like: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  19. Gil on Sun, 31st Mar 2013 9:15 pm
  20. I’ve been being asked recently about net­work­ing quite a bit which led me to want to point out this blog post I did a few years back. From what many have told me, it helped them look at net­work­ing in a dif­fer­ent and so I wanted to repub­lish it here for many of my read­ers. Never stop net­work­ing!! Net­work­ing is really noth­ing more than meet­ing new peo­ple and sin­cerely find­ing out who they are and what they are about! This is regard­less of what they can or can­not do for you!.…Cheers!!

    Like or Dis­like: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  21. Quynhlan on Tue, 28th May 2013 3:17 am
  22. Great arti­cle!
    Your advices is very use­ful. I think ” look peo­ple in eyes” is very impor­tant. It catch the truth of audi­ence. More­over, it makes your speed is more per­suad­able. Thank you a lot for this post.
    Quynhlan recently posted..[Open­Cart Mod­ule] Kuler Con­trol Panel: An In-depth LookMy Profile

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  23. Gil Pizano on Tue, 28th May 2013 8:07 pm
  24. Thanks Quynhlan! Yes, you make a very good point! Look­ing at a person’s eyes when speak­ing and when being spo­ken to is very impor­tant. Thanks for point­ing this out!

    Like or Dis­like: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  25. Sebastian from Good Morning Quotes on Sun, 27th Oct 2013 7:33 pm
  26. I’ve dealt with social anx­i­ety for a very long time and the cure was to start being myself. I was try­ing to be like other people.

    It turns out that I’m a very weird guy but peo­ple like it appar­ently. They think I’m inter­est­ing.
    Sebas­t­ian recently posted..That’s Unre­al­is­tic… Fuck OffMy Profile

    Like or Dis­like: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

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  30. . A great sug­ges­tion for these stu­dents? Talk to every­body, show sin­cere inter­est in them as peo­ple, and let them know what your goals

    Like or Dis­like: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

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  32. I think I’m cry­ing. It’s that clean.

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