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studentfocus February 11 7

problems or something similar, as this will create a good image, make you stand out and encourage them to ask you more questions. The key is to get them to keep asking questions so that a conversation develops.

Move around the room – it is probably not the best use of your time to spend the whole event with just one person. Indeed, you are not obliged to spend the whole event with them and they may want to move on as much as you do but don’t know how to do it.

It is pleasant to talk to friends or people you know and it can have benefits. However, you should aim to meet as many new people as possible when given an opportunity to network, although you must not do so blatantly, as that will reflect badly on you. The people you have spoken to will feel used and will resent it if you are obviously sizing them up for their business worth and then dismissing them. Never scan the room for others to talk to while in conversation as that is bad manners. Of course, if someone is rude and offhand, then be polite and move away from them. You don’t want to do business with someone you don’t like, as it won’t work.

When you want to move on say ‘Well, Jon, it has been great meeting you, but I need to go and see Maria over there. Would you like me to introduce you?’ or ‘I’m going for a drink, would you like to join me?’ The chances are they will not and you have managed to move away without offending them.

Start conversations at the bar or near food as people are happy to chat. Offer someone a plate or some food as an icebreaker to start the conversation. Act as host even if you are a guest by introducing people. Introduce yourself if the person you are with does not introduce you, as they have probably forgotten your name (which is why they haven’t introduced you).

Look for someone you don’t know who is standing on their own. They will be happy to talk as they don’t want to be seen standing on their own. You would like it if someone did the same for you wouldn’t you!

Arrive early if you are feeling nervous so that people then have to face you. Go with others until you feel confident, but separate when you feel comfortable. Think positive – you

are going to meet new people, gain useful information and create opportunities. Stay late at networking events, that can be when the strongest relationships can be built as people are more relaxed and have more time to talk without pressure.

Always look for ways you can help people without expecting an immediate return or matching gesture. Give advice for free while being careful not to be boring or to monopolise the conversation. If you can’t help them, refer them to someone you know who can. Be patient – what you give comes back in time but you have to wait. Be genuine because people prefer to do business with people they like. If you say you will do something, then do it as soon as you can (the same evening even) as this is unusual, and thus very impressive and professional. It will also make people remember you!

Getting people to know you, like you and

trust you, simply being sociable, are the foundations of networking, and much of business is based on networking. ABE wants to encourage networking opportunities for ABE members because it is an important business skill. ABE is therefore supporting the creation of a members’ group in Trinidad, to promote the development of professional and social networks amongst ABE students in the region. If you would like to set up a networking group in your country or region please contact the marketing department:

Be genuine because people prefer to do business with people they like

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