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Hi, my name is...

Example of an American grocery store aisle.Image via Wikipedia

"The name's Bond. James Bond."

No matter what field of work you are in, I could list 100 reasons why it is important for you to get out and NETWORK.

Don't worry, I'm not going to. However, in constantly being bombarded with networking events to attend, I can tell you that it is a skill you need to learn.

Yes, networking is a skill. And like anything else, it comes easier to some than to others. There are many types of "introverts" who have difficulty walking into a crowded room where they may not know a single face.

If you fall into that cateogy, please read "The 4-step program for successfully networking as an introvert" by Jamie Millard and Chris Oien, both of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of the Twin Cities.

Understand that learning how to network and building a network takes time. For the introverts who need that extra push into the room, know that everyone there is in the same shoes you're in. They wouldn't be there if they weren’t interested in meeting you. :)

After giving the 4-step program more thought, I think these tips are excellent even if you are the most outgoing person in the room. Networking takes a plan. When you go to the grocery store with a list you have a plan. And nine times out of 10, you walk away with a completed plan plus a little extra. Think of networking the same way. Go in with a mission as simple as connecting with five new people. You'll walk out meeting 10 and being well ahead of your goal!

My favorite point made in the 4-step program blog is "know your talking points." In other words, have a plan for what you are going to say. To take this advice one step further, I would suggest beware of getting backed into a corner with one or two others. Hit on your key points, sustain the connection and move onto someone new.

Oh, and as you move on to introduce yourself to someone new, be sure to extend your "Hi, my name is..." with the same confidence Mr. Bond delivers his famous line.

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