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​6 Networking Tips No Professional Can Do Without

If you’re reading this, then it’s safe to say that you’re not quite the extrovert. But that’s cool, because you don’t have to be a joke-cracking, talkaholic to make some solid connections at networking events. Dressing the part is a no-brainer, so we’ll lay down a few less obvious networking tips that no pro can do without.  
 
#1: Have a great attitude. So maybe you’re not beaming with positivity all the time, and that’s ok. But think about it—we naturally want to meet people who look nice, while many of us (especially introverts) avoid people who look miserable and unhappy. Even Psychology Today mentions that we appear more attractive to others when we smile and look happy. To top it off, smiling causes your brain to release a series of “feel-good” neurotransmitters, which help you get into a positive frame of mind in a flash.
 
#2: Think happy thoughts. If you’re having trouble finding a reason to smile, go into the networking event thinking happy thoughts. Think about your girlfriend, the tasty craft beer you’ll drink later, your friend’s BBQ this coming weekend, some lines from Dumb and Dumber, or whatever else it takes to put a genuine, honest smile across your face. Positivity is unbelievably contagious and downright attractive—in a professional sense, of course—and your great attitude will even have a few people starting a conversation with you.
 
#3: Make eye contact. Ok, so maybe this one is pretty obvious, but it’s easily the most important networking tip ever. If eye contact makes you uncomfortable, challenge yourself to do it! Anything that keeps you in your comfort zone prevents you from growing, no matter what type of personality you have.
 
Note: You don’t have to stare into the other person’s eyes, but simply look at the other person’s eyes when the conversation begins and keep looking back at them every few moments while you’re talking.
 
#4: Bust a power pose.  To give yourself a big boost of confidence, try holding a power pose (ala Superman) for five minutes before you go into the networking event. Researchers from Harvard Business School found that holding a power pose for two minutes increased testosterone levels, while sitting or standing in a sheepish posture actually caused testosterone levels to drop.
You might feel awkward standing there next to your car with your chest all puffed out and your hands on your hips, but you’ll feel like a billion bucks when it comes time to approach new folks.
 
#5: Three questions. Don’t like to talk? You can always let the others do the talking for you, but you’ll have to get the conversation started with some good questions. Naturally, we always like to be asked our opinions on things, so think of at least three thoughtful questions you can ask.
Forget the weather and sports and ask professional questions, such as:
 
 What do you like most about your job?
How did you get started in your profession?
What is one thing you would change about your industry?
 
It also helps if you do your homework ahead of time and research the people you want to meet who will be attending the networking event. Look them up on Facebook and LinkedIn and use some of their disclosed info to generate a few thoughtful questions.
 
#6: Get some sleep. Make sure you get plenty of sleep the night before a networking event. A good 7.5 hours of sleep keeps your brain sharp as a tack and your smile beaming from ear to ear the following day. The point here: the more rested you are, the more confident and talkative you’ll feel.
 
Networking is as easy as that. Remember that the more you network, the easier it becomes, so be sure to attend networking events regularly. 

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