Networking Takes Courage

One of the keys to being a good real estate agent is being able to network with others.  I recently got to observe a networking session between business leaders and college students.  After the event, the business leaders each provided a piece of advice to the students.  I kept notes and wanted to pass on their tips, as they will help many of us in our careers.

  • Networking is not easy.  It takes confidence, and not the type you are born with.  You have to build the confidence to become good at networking.
  • Your first impression is the MOST important part of networking.  Those in the group will make an initial opinion of you within the first seven seconds.  So, know how you want to be seen and approach the situation that way.
  • Make eye contact.  It makes you come across as more engaged, friendly, and confident. Also, it provides you with a lot of non-verbal information about what the other person is thinking and feeling.
  • Engage with those within your group.  Find a way to insert comments and feedback into the discussion.  If you cannot think of anything to say, then listen intently to what others are saying.
  • Break out of your shell.  Get out of your comfort zone.  Do not sit back and wait to be approached.  You need to step out and approach others.
  • Seek information from those you are networking with to find the things you have in common with them.  Don’t just respond to the questions that you are asked.  Ask questions back to create back and forth dialogue.
  • You are the CEO, COO, CFO, etc of your image.  Make sure you have your elevator pitch as to who you are and what you do and why you are networking.  Be ready to sell yourself.
  • Have an agenda for what you want to accomplish through the networking opportunity and do not be afraid to ask others to help you find the connections you are seeking.
  • Come across as yourself.  Do not fake it as people can read through that pretty quick.  And don’t be afraid to show your personality.  It’s what sets you apart from others.
  • Don’t get stuck in one conversation, find ways to break out and try to make several connections.  You can build more of the one-on-one connection when you follow-up later with the individuals.

Thank you to the business leaders who contributed to these Networking Tips:  Ralph Bobian, Jennifer Bower, Jeremy Craighead, Heather Hennings, Kyle Kelly, Skip Perley and John Williams.

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