Enhance Your Networking Skills During Holiday Events

By Jay Forte, Coach, Author, Educator

The holidays aren’t just for friends and families gathering together to celebrate the season. The holidays also provide a great time for networking with colleagues and peers at company and industry events. For those of you considering making a career change in 2018, holiday events can provide you with a platform to tell the world about yourself.

Today’s world is built on networking. You constantly meet and connect with people – some you will work with, others you will meet for the first time. But networking isn’t always easy, especially when you need to find the delicate balance between listening and talking, frequently in a crowded room with music that always seems to be playing too loud.

The trick to successful networking is to first know – then successfully and professionally share – something meaningful about yourself. And the challenge isn’t just in what information to share, but how to do so in a concise way, knowing you have just a few moments to make that initial connection. Peggy Klaus calls these “brag bites” in her book, The Hard Truth About Soft Skills.

So how can you share your Forte Factor in the hopes of landing an interview or promotion? Tell them about your strengths, talents and passions through a story.

Our days are filled with stories, you just need to learn how to recognize the ones that highlight your strengths. Try this: stop and notice something you did this morning – what story could it create for you to share something important about you? For example, I talked about cars with a couple of the guys at my gym. In sharing how I came to choose the hybrid car I bought, I shared how organized, methodical and analytical my approach was. They told me they would want to check in with me the next time they were car shopping, or making any kind of big decision that required a little extra legwork. This was my brag bite. It was an easy share and wasn’t overly aggressive. They now know that this is who I am and it relates to everything I do, including my work. And now, if I connect with any of them specific to coaching, they already have a feel for who I am.

So what story should you tell? Stop and notice how you show up in your world. Define your inventory of abilities and build your inventory of stories. Then watch your world for the places to deliver a brief story that shares something important about you in a meaningful way, allowing others to learn about your abilities in a way that both entertains and educates.

 

Original article “When You Network, Use Stories To Tell Important Things About You” was originally published on LinkedIn, September 6, 2016

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