Networking has become a very essential part of the corporate and business world in recent times. From online professional networking sites to specialised events for meeting and networking with people of significance, networking can play a major role in getting you ahead in your career. When you’re networking your aim should be to make an impression as a promising young professional. If instead of that you end up making an impression as a woman, then all the effort and time you put into networking could end up being for naught. So put away your feminine charm and focus instead on projecting a professional image.
More often than not, we do not even know that we’re being flirty or are employing are female wiles. And matters are made even more difficult with men constantly trying to read between the lines. So how do you avoid getting your flirt on while networking?
Do Not Giggle
This is a universal sign of flirting. Avoid giggling at all costs as it can not only be construed as flirting but can also make you look like a gullible school girl. Instead perfect a polite smile and handshake in order to project a professional no-nonsense image.
Like it or not how you dress will affect how others perceive you. So dress conservatively, especially if you’re going to a networking event or other such affairs where the crowd will contain people from a myriad of different cultural backgrounds. Pick neutral colours and avoid showing too much skin.
Limit Your Drinking
Never forget that your main objective is to make valuable contacts. So steer clear of the alcohol. Restrict yourself to a glass of wine if you have to drink socially, nursing the glass throughout the event. You do not want to get drunk and end up doing anything embarrassing that you might later regret.
Master the Small Talk
As mundane it might be, small talk is one thing that you need to excel at. You’ll be meeting so many new faces and knowing how to start a conversation can help you avoid those awkward silences. When you have something relevant to talk about you are less likely to start blabbering just to fill the silence, over sharing by spilling out all your personal details.
Don’t Be Sexist
Consciously or unconsciously, women tend to network with men while ignoring or bypassing other women. This is a fatal mistake as you not only come across as a flirt who wants to talk only to men, but you might also end up offending potential female mentors who could really help you out in your career. Make it a point to interact equally with both men and women.
Know How to Compliment
Everybody loves receiving compliments, but compliments for the sake of getting on someone’s good books might sound insincere and can be taken as your desperate attempt to flirt. So only compliment someone if you feel he/she genuinely deserves it. Also keep your compliments on a professional level, which means no compliments about a person’s clothes or other such stuff.
Respect Personal Space
Do not crowd a person. As eager as you are to make someone’s acquaintance, do not be too pushy. You might end up scaring them and giving them the wrong impression as far as your intentions are concerned. In short, do not act like a stalker.
Networking is a very effective tool when used the right way. It can open a lot of doors and avenues that you did not know existed. So make sure you are presenting yourself the right way to reap in the benefits of networking.