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Using Your Story to Build Your Network When Meeting New People

Updated: Jun 2, 2023

Let’s face it, some people are more comfortable networking than others. But, if you’re working in any capacity, it’s a critical activity. Networking will help you find a job if you’re looking and secure a new job if you want to make a move. If you’re stuck thinking about what to say when you’re networking, start forming your story that you can share. You want people to think, “Tell me more,” or “I want to talk to that person again,” when they leave your presence. Here are a few ways to use your story to accomplish that.

List what makes you stand out. Start by listing some things that make you unique. Focus on the professional qualities you have that someone will want on their team. Then, note some things you’ve accomplished at your previous jobs and how you came about those achievements. That’s your story: who you are with the steps you’ve taken to be a success. Finally, condense some of these aspects into just three simple sentences. This is just a beginning, but it’s the elevator pitch you can give to entice someone to want to continue your conversation.

Look for challenges in the industry. Every industry has points of challenge. Think about what those are in your particular field. Next, craft a story about how you can solve these problems. Bring in some recent research or articles you’ve read that address the problem. Also, tie in what you’ve been able to successfully achieve in your past as a solution to these issues. Ultimately, think as a problem solver and tell your story from that aspect.

Practice until you sound genuine. Some people feel anxious when networking, so one of the most effective ways of telling your story will be through authenticity. You’ll want to carefully weave in and out of your story while asking your networking partner about their story and what you can also do for them. While it’s important to get your point across and wow them with your history, it’s also important to listen and ask questions. In essence, you’re swapping stories and that will quickly form a connection and sense of trust which leaves a good impression.

With all of the forms of connection available in today’s society, it’s possible to always be networking. This is all the more reason to have your story ready to tell. Don’t make the mistake that you think you’ll be ready to tell your story at any time simply because it’s yours. It’s better to think through the elements of what makes you and your history stand out so that you’re ready as soon as a networking opportunity arrives, wherever and whenever it happens.

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