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  • Stacey Baker

Networking: One of the most influential career steps you can make

September brings lots of social obligations—and with it lots of opportunities to connect with new friends and potential business contacts. Networking is key if you’re looking for a role, and also when you have one, to make sure you maximize your chances of success. It may not be a typical business networking event, but no matter where you go, you can make it what you want, and use the time as an opportunity! Here are a few tips to ensure you make the most out of any event

How to Navigate a Large Party

Remember that every big function starts out as an intimate affair. So grit your teeth, swallow your instincts, and go early. When you’re among the first to arrive, you’ll have the chance to meet everybody who’s there. As the party grows you’ll have a built-in group to hang with and to introduce you to other guests.

How to Break the Ice

Asking questions about someone’s last few hours is a great way to kick-start the conversation. It may sound silly to you, but this is not ‘small’ talk to her. Why? Because those details are still on her mental windshield and the time proximity makes them loom larger than they really are. She’ll love talking about it because she’s so close to the experience.

How to Make Your Handshake Stand Out

To create an instant connection with a new acquaintance ever-so-lightly place your forefinger on his wrist vein so he feels the warmth of your body flowing into his. Sliding your hand into his far enough to reach his pulse forces your webs to touch, which is another sign of a great handshake.

How to Present Your Business Card

Your card is an extension of yourself so hand it over with pride. Take it gently out of an attractive carrying case and present it horizontally, with the script facing the recipient. Hold it just a bit higher than usual—not in their face—but at a height where he/she could almost read it.

How to Accept a Business Card

To make the giver feel valued don’t just glance at their card and quickly stash it away. Hold it with both hands and examine it with care. Then switch to holding the card with one hand, but continue holding it at waist level or just below. Every so often look down at it.

How to Tactfully Change the Subject

Stuck in a tired conversation about the weather (snore)? Change the subject by repeating or rephrasing the last word or phrase the person said, and then tie it to yours. For example, say “On rainy weekends, I usually go to the movies. In fact, just last week I saw one called…” If you allude to what someone else just said, people won’t even notice the shift.

How to Score the Perfect Seat

If you are seeking any important alliance, arrive early at the gathering and hover around the sides of the room. When you spot that important client or contact, make a speedy (but subtle) landing in the seat right next to him.

How to Make a Great Last Impression

The next time you meet someone, make a note of how enthusiastic you sounded when you said hello. When it comes time to say good-bye, boost your energy level up a tad higher and make your ‘bye’ as big as your ‘hi’.

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