Choose one of these strategies to try at your next networking event

How do we maximize our networking ability to achieve the most significant benefit?

1. Start networking when you don't feel you need to.

Attending an event with only an ulterior motive and a sense of desperation rubs people the wrong way. Instead, it is best to start networking in a generous mindset creating a more engaging experience for everyone.

2. Be genuine.

Networking is not sales--you're there to make real connections. Leave your elevator pitch at the door. We all come into network events as professionals, but our lives outside of work motivate us. If its appropriate, bring the conversation toward something not work-related. You may be able to find a shared interest, an area to create a real connection and spark an opportunity further along the road.

3. Adopt a community mentality.

Networking within your community provides more opportunities to connect with people multiple times. When making connections approach your connections as people you would want to follow-up, and then do!

4. Listen.

Every conversation is an opportunity to learn rather than pitch yourself. Engage with others to understand their professional situation, desired goals, and objectives. In the end, people will feel heard, and you will have more leverage and understanding of how you can position yourself to be of service.