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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Networking your way to Career Success; How you can be successful at Business Networking

Take a Seat - Make a Friend? The world is a friendlier place then you probably thought.

From internship opportunities on wall street, first hand accounts of 911 from investment bankers and free tickets to universal studios, taking the time to talk to the people around me has given me some of my greatest and best opportunities in life. Networking and building relationships with strangers has almost always been a positive experience for me. 

Why not give someone the fabulous opportunity to get to know you. But how do you do it so its not awkward?  

Its about more than finding common ground with people

My biggest problem is that I am a geek with weird taste. Finding that common ground to build up with strangers feels like searching for a leprechaun sometimes. After all, most people aren't passionately into entrepreneurship, personal development and break dance. I've always admired and been jealous of those people who can become instant best friends with anybody that they meet.

Envious enough  I've spent the last few years reading books and applying what I learned at as many networking events and strangers as I can. I'm happy to say I think I've cracked the code a bit into how they make that work. But first, lets go over the basic process for how you build a connection with someone.

Building a relationship is all about finding that common ground that you can share with someone. Look at the world relationship and it will reveal its secret to you.

Networking is all about building RELATIONships.


Look at the world Relationship and you will see that its root word is RELATION. Think of all the people you meet and became great friends with in life and you will find that it all started with sharing something in common which you both can relate to. Such as sports, television shows or pop culture usually for most people. That doesn't really work for me as I do none of the above. So what common ground do I use to build relationships with people then ? I've found that there is one POWERFUL common ground that everyone shares and that is emotions. We all know what happiness, sadness and frustration feel like.

Emotions are the ultimate common ground

When you talk to someone and ask them about there life, listen to the emotion that comes with what ever story or activity that they are doing. Once you've identified what emotion you think they would be feeling , you then share a story or event in your life that has the same emotion. For myself I usually speak with business executives and I ask them about how they handle under performing team mates. I know from personal experience that it usually involves frustration as well as anxiety and stress. After hearing their story I then tell them any experience I have as long as it has the same emotional core. I could tell them about group class projects that have fallen apart, to my own leadership experience or frustration with my sister. 

From my networking experience, it doesn't really matter what story you tell as long as the emotional core is the same. If you do it right, they will instantly feel like you understand them at a deep level and feel like you can relate to them. It comes with practice but you will be amazed at how quickly you can build strong relationships with strangers when you do it this way.

Let me know your awkward, amazing experiences and tips for networking if you have any.


By Stevie Vu

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