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5 Networking tips to boost your career

Text: Laura Schwartz; Photography: Peopleimages.com

5 Top networking tipsAs the White House Director of Events during the Clinton Administration, Laura Schwartz created events that represented a nation and inspired the world. At just 19, she arrived at the White House with no political connections and volunteered answering phones in the press office, quickly climbing her way up the ranks as a staff assistant, the Midwest Press Secretary, the Director of Television and ultimately the White House Director of Events.

Today, as a professional speaker, respected television commentator, founder of Laura Schwartz Live and author of Eat, Drink & Succeed, Laura shares the networking secrets that skyrocketed her onto the world stage along with personal anecdotes from her life and White House years as she empowers, motivates and inspires each audience she encounters.

Here are her top 5 tips to career success through networking.

Is it ‘cocktail talk’ or your cocktail talking?

Just because the atmosphere is relaxed at an open bar work party, remember that how you act outside of the office will be taken into consideration inside the office the next time you’re being considered for a promotion or new project. If it makes you feel better having a drink… Have one or two – it’s the three, four or more that get you into trouble! Jokes the day after an office party are not funny if you can’t remember them!

Plus one or plus none?

Pick your wingman wisely! A date can sometimes be helpful but they can also hold you back. Your date (whether boyfriend, sister, co-worker or bff) should be able to hold their own if you’re off meeting people and making new connections.

The power of timing… tick tock, tick tock!

The early bird does get the worm so arrive at your event on time. It is a powerful nod to the host to let them know being there is a priority to you and empowers you to meet guests as they arrive.  Especially when you know there is someone there you want to see… The last thing you want is to be walking in after they’d already gone because they were on time and only had 20 minutes!

It’s not what you say – it’s what you hear them saying!

The power of listening can never be underestimated! The great television host Larry King once said, “I never learned anything while I was talking,” and he was right! When we listen, we gather information. When we gather information we realise where in this other person’s life we can build a bridge for them to get to where they want to go, and find a bridge for ourselves in the process. Besides sometimes just listening to someone can be a gift!

Reach outside of your circle!

As First Lady, Jackie Kennedy had a rule: If you were invited to a “social” function at the White House you were able to bring a guest. But after cocktails and official greetings, you crossed the threshold into the dining room and you were seated at different tables for dinner. This was the First Lady’s way of enticing conversation and getting you to reach outside of your circle. Instead of making the rounds speaking with the same people at every outing or event, you get to meet someone new. You never know when the next conversation will be the one to change your life or someone else’s!

Laura will be presenting at an inaugural conference in Johannesburg, 19-20th February, at an event for Executive Assistants. For more information, or to book your place and hear Laura’s insight visit www.executivesecretarylive.com/johannesburg/2016/.

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